ELNORA — Last season the North Daviess girls basketball team struggled to score at times, but this season there has been no such trouble.
The Cougars (2-0) defeated Springs Valley 56-29 Tuesday night in the Cougar Den behind a balanced offensive attack that saw three different players score in double figures.
North Daviess ran out to a big lead in the first quarter behind nine points from Sabra Smith and eight from Meghan Knepp. Midway through the quarter the Cougars held a modest 6-2 lead, but two Smith 3-pointers helped spur on a 15-2 run to end the quarter to give North Daviess a 21-4 lead.
“Part of it was they (Springs Valley) hadn’t played a game yet,” said North Daviess coach Ron Knepp. “The other part was our aggressiveness. We are very aggressive defensively, we try to put pressure on you offensively. They hadn’t played a game yet and then you come out to pressure. That takes a little time to get used to.”
The second quarter was less explosive from the Cougars as Springs Valley outscored the home team 10-9 in the quarter, but North Daviess held a 30-14 lead at halftime. Kiana Wininger and Olivia Carnes kept Springs Valley in the game by combining for nine points in the second quarter.
In the third quarter, Smith scored five points and Knepp had three, but six points from Taylor Mallett got the offense going with six of her 18 points. Mallett along with forward Brooke Moore were able to control the paint and frustrate the Springs Valley offense as North Daviess extended its lead to 44-23 at the end of the quarter. Knepp said he has seen an improvement strength wise from the entire team due to a strength and conditioning plan he implemented in the offseason.
“We have five people that have volunteered to help us out,” Knepp said. “All 19 girls participate in it. I’ve got two physical therapists, a doctor and two weight training people that volunteer their time to work with these girls. You ought to go in the gym when they are working out. They are working hard and Taylor Mallett is one of the hardest workers while we are lifting. That strength and confidence shows.”