Better early than never for SK

It might not be classified as a matinee, but the Wolves aren’t complaining about Wednesday’s early start.

After all, the result was a 42-35 win against Lincoln in the Narrows League Bridge Division girls basketball opener for both schools.

The start was moved from 7 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. to accommodate the boys game, which initially was slated to be played at Lincoln until administrators at both schools agreed to switch home games.

South coach Mike Allen said he liked the change, and felt the doubleheader brought more fans to the game. It also didn’t hurt to open against Lincoln (0-4 overall, 0-1 league) with first-year coach Cal-Jean Lloyd guiding the program.

And the Wolves (2-1, 1-0) took advantage. South, which won only one league game last season, 60-53 against Wilson on Jan. 27, never trailed Wednesday. Senior guard Jessica Jordan, back from last season, said the win was important for team morale.

“I would say it was extremely important coming off the last two years,” she said. “We’re starting with confidence instead of a hole.”

Allen agreed.

“It’s been a long time since we’ve had a league win right off the bat,” he said. “It’s good for them to know what a league win feels like.”

South took an early lead -- actually, before the clock even started -- when the Abes were assessed a technical foul because of a clerical error with their submitted scorebook. Jordan converted the free throws and the Wolves never trailed.

But it didn’t come easy as the Wolves committed nine first-quarter turnovers en route to 27 for the game.

“Right now we’re just kind of jitterish,” Jordan said. “We just need to run the play and score off of them instead of running quickly.”

Patience also might serve the Wolves well at the free-throw line. Allen likes the fact that his team is aggressive in taking the ball to the basket; they shot 28 free throws against Lincoln, but only converted 12.

That’s 42.9 percent, and Allen said his team is converting only 51 percent of its free throws this season.

“The other thing we’re going to have to work on is free throws,” he said. “It’s been a focus, but it’s going to be more of a focus.”

Allen said he feels that spending too much time working on free throws in practice can make a team nervous, so he stressed that each player should spend 15 individual minutes working on them.

Despite those struggles, Allen was pleased with his team’s effort, particularly on defense. Lincoln converted 12 of 45 field-goal attempts (26.7 percent) and had just one player, Deanna Trammell, reach double-digits in points. She finished with a game-high 15.

“I think they kept the defensive intensity up all night,” Allen said. “I’m pretty happy with how they’re working.”

The Wolves’ offense also stepped up when necessary. When the Abes cut their deficit to 13-11 in the second quarter, Samantha Gulisao converted three free throws after she was fouled on a 3-pointer. Lincoln cut its deficit to 27-24 late in the third quarter on a layup by Paris Stephens, but Stephanie Osterdahl, who scored eight points, responded on the ensuing possession with a jumper. Lincoln never came within five points again.

“It seemed like whenever they were catching up, we picked it up,” Jordan said.

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