Jess Rader is looking for increased energy early on in games after sorting through a porous start in a loss to talented league power Nordonia.
Playing a ton of underclassmen, Rader realizes consistency will take time, but she is seeking positive reactions from her young Twinsburg girls basketball team.
Coming off a big win on the road at Hudson, the second-year coach was expecting a decent start against the loaded Knights.
"I think we need to start games with more energy," said Rader, alluding to her club’s solid second half in a 59-34 loss at home Saturday.
Despite a 19-2 first quarter by Nordonia that included a devastating 19-0 spurt that spilled into the second period, Twinsburg was fairly competitive with the Knights, who moved to 7-1 in the Suburban League Nation Conference and 13-1 overall.
Alex Walker helped Twinsburg at least stay in the hunt as the senior’s work on the offensive glass helped the hosts record a 14-14 second quarter.
In the third, the Tigers held Nordonia to 13 points, but managed scoring only eight points as sophomore Logan Pride was saddled with her third foul at the 7:24 mark of the third.
Offense has become a premium quantity as high-scoring Alana Ellis has been out with an injury.
"We had to make adjustments with Logan out, and when we lose a player in our rotation, it just makes it that much harder to score," noted Rader, who has played four freshmen and three sophomores at times.
"I thought we played better in the second half and we talked about being able to spark our offense with our play on defense," she went on. "We did that."
"It helped Faith Gregory and Logan to have a good second half and we just need to start with more energy as a team."
Gregory (10) and Pride (six) teamed for 16 points in the second half. Gregory added four rebounds, three steals and two assists.
"Faith did a great job in the second half and I think if she were six inches taller, she would get 10 rebounds a game," said Rader.
An offensive board and putback by Walker with 5:58 left in the first half snapped a 19-0 run and was Twinsburg’s first points in over nine minutes!
Walker (six points, seven boards) had all six points and five offensive caroms in the first half alone.
Twinsburg (3-7, 3-5) had only 14 turnovers. Held to just two points in the second half, junior guard Jada Austin hit a pair of 3-pointers and had eight points.
Freshman Sophie Adick showed flashes doing the small things on the court.
Undersized as a forward-wing, Adick hustled, played strong defense, added five boards, one assist, and a steal off of the bench.
Rader liked what she saw out of Adick and used her to defend talented 6-foot wing Madison Cluse in the second half.
After a 12-point, 10-board first half, Cluse ended with 21 points and 13 rebounds.
"Sophie plays good defense and hustles, and I told her when she was defending Cluse that I wouldn’t count on her for offense and that I just wanted her to defend," said Rader. "Sophie did a great job and she is a good athlete."