LEAVITTSBURG - With only eight girls on the bench, the Vikings of LaBrae completely dominated the tempo of their game against Chalker on Monday.
LaBrae's man-to-man defense only allowed an average of 10 points per quarter in a 73-43 win.
"We have a mixture of some older girls and some younger girls," LaBrae coach Lisa Aldridge said. "I'm starting a freshman right now. I have a couple of seniors, too. That takes a little time for continuity to set in, but I think my seniors, at least my point guard Somer McCoy, have pretty much seen it all. So as long as we can keep the ball in her hands for the majority, she can pretty much know."
Aldridge holds high expectations for her two seniors to lead the team this year.
"I think that with Somer in there and Maddie (Kiser) in there, they do a nice job of reading the defenses and trying to get the other girls on track," Aldridge said. "I think that (Chalker coach Matthew Yoder) did a nice job of mixing up the defenses. A 1-3-1 is not an easy defense to play. If you don't play it well, it can hurt you, but I think he played it well at times and that hurt, but it's a victory."
Kiser shot 80 percent from the floor, connecting on eight of 10 field goals and went five of seven from the line for 21 points. She also added six rebounds, two assists and one steal. McCoy scored 10 points, grabbed eight rebounds, passed off five assists and had a steal.
LaBrae's Lauren Rutherford also contributed, earning a double-double by scoring 15 points and snatching 10 rebounds.
"Passes from my teammates led to all my points," Kiser said. "I don't really handle the ball a lot. So I have to post up and they have to get assists and pass it in. We were really slow in the first half. We picked it up a little bit and started running the ball more."
Slow was a very accurate description of what transpired to open the game.
Chalker won the jump and rolled from there. In the first few possessions, the Wildcats took an early 6-0 lead. LaBrae's first points of the game didn't come until halfway through the first quarter.
Rutherford put up the first points, but Chalker answered with Rachel Wilson getting a field goal and one. Wilson put the free throw down, making the score 9-2. Wilson hit seven field goals and made three foul shots for 18 points come the final buzzer.
With 2:04 left in first quarter, Chalker had an 11-10 advantage - which was the last time the Wildcats led.
"We didn't have a JV game tonight," Aldridge said. "I knew going into this game, they just didn't warm up very well. They're not in that normal mode of playing after a JV game. I knew they were going to come out a little sluggish. We just weren't real focused in the beginning. We discussed that at halftime about coming out a little flat, both offensively and defensively. We didn't know a whole lot about Southington because they got a new coach this year, so we didn't really know what to expect with them. They did throw a couple defenses at us that we normally don't see, so we had to work through that after halftime. For the most part, we have a lot of work to do still on our defensive end and hopefully we will improve."
Chalker coach Matthew Yoder was disappointed in his team's rebounding effort, and thinks that is what cost them the game.
"We didn't rebound," Yoder said. "They dominated the boards. I think it was 48-10. They had 48, we had 10. That's second-chance opportunities. We won the turnover battle. They had 24, we had 16. We did what we wanted to do defensively, we just didn't rebound. That's what ultimately lost the game for us."
Thursday, LaBrae takes on Jefferson while Chalker hosts Grand Valley.