by JAKEB WATTS
AHS Sports Correspondent
The Jeffersonville Lady Red Devils were the first opponents the Austin Lady Eagles took on in their season opener for the 2015-16 basketball season on Tuesday, November 10.
The Lady Eagles and coaches and several fans traveled to the Lady Red Devils' home in Jeffersonville to see how this team would fare against the bigger RDs.
“Jeffersonville was a very tough opponent to come up against,” remarked head coach Jared Petersen. “They're a 4A school, and with us coming off limited practice and many of our players just getting back from a big volleyball season, it wasn't an ideal situation for our first game. Especially with our streak of injuries.”
One action-ending injury in particular that the AHS team will have to work around is that of starting junior guard Akaya Walker. She injured her ACL in early June. With Walker out of the lineup, the outcome of the Jeffersonville game and the first half of the new season are unclear for the Lady Eagles. “Obviously, without Walker, we are not at full strength and probably won't be until Akaya is ready to return, hopefully by mid-December. She is one of our best scorers. Without her, others are going to have to step up their games,” observed Coach Petersen.
Starters for the Jeff game were seniors Meagan Hollan and Hailey Misamore, juniors Mackenzie Norton and Kami Owens and sophomore Addison Brasher.
Without haste, the ballgame began, and the ball was tipped to the hosts.
Lady Eagles used a man-to-man defense to try to put the stops on the Lady Red Devils early, but efforts proved ineffective, thanks to the Red Devils' ability to hit tough shots and efficiently use ball movement.
The Lady Eagles also struggled offensively, failing to get a lot of their shots to fall true. They trailed the Red Devils 23-6 at the half, causing Coach Petersen to later reflect, “That first half was truly the first half of our season. We played flat and missed easy lay-ups and free throws and really struggled against Jeff's pressure. We set a goal for the second half to win the half and try to compete with Jeffersonville.”
Determined to fight back in the second half, the Lady Eagles took to the floor, switching to a zone defense to better defend against the Red Devils. This, ultimately, proved effective, with Brasher and Owens each picking up 3 steals in the first three minutes of the third quarter. Brasher also jump-started the Eagles' offense, collecting 10 points and 3 assists on the Lady Red Devils in the third period.
Despite their brilliant efforts, the Lady Eagles simply could not recover from the first half deficit. The Red Devils won 47-36, forcing the Lady Eagles to begin their season 0-1. Noted their coach, “We won the second half and played a lot better offensively.”
Brasher led the team with 17 points. Elizabeth Lee had 8 points, Owens 5, Misamore 4 and Norton 2.