Cardinals top Warhawks in season opener


It may not have been a pretty victory for the Garner-Hayfield/Ventura girls basketball team, but the game did end with a win for the Cardinals over West Fork, 48-46.

“This group is a smart hardworking bunch of girls, so I have no doubt we will make great strides in the weeks to come,” said Head Coach Matt Erpelding.  “When you come out of a game like last night with a ‘W’ you have to feel good, but at the same time we must realize that you can’t repeat that type of performance on a nightly basis and expect to have a successful season.”

The game opened with balanced scoring, with both teams collecting 12 points.  G-H/V garnered a small 23-21 lead by halftime.

“Our offense was very out of sync all night long.  We struggled getting the looks we wanted and forced the ball into traffic on a regular basis,” said Erpelding.

The Warhawks got rolling in the second half and had a six point lead, 46-40, with three minutes remaining in the game.  Some key shots fell for the Cardinals and they outscored West Fork, 12-9, in the fourth quarter to collect the final two-point victory.

“The girls never gave up.  They fought until the very end and made enough plays late to pull out the victory,” said Coach Erpelding.  “That mentality is something you can’t teach and when you have that trait you are going to win games that you really probably have no business winning.”

Maddie Tusha was the team’s leading scorer with 14-points.  Mackenzie Haag collected nine, while Emily Spilman and Bri Bier each had eight points.  Sydney Younge dumped in six points and Hannah Hutcheson added three.

Under the boards, Tusha again led her team with 11 rebounds.  Haag grabbed seven, Courtney Younge had six and Bier collected five.

Tusha also led the team in assists and steals.  She dished out five assists and grabbed four steals to go with her two blocked shots.

The Cardinals play West Fork again on Saturday, Dec. 1, at NIACC.  Game time is 7 p.m.

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