The visiting Lady Cats used full-court pressure for most of the second half, but coach Eric Mitchell said by then it was too much too late.
The Lady Roughriders won 60-43 Saturday, leaving them undefeated in the Firelands Conference at 2-0 and 3-1 overall. New London fell to 3-2 overall and 0-1 in the FC.
Western coach Laura Pierson said she wanted to make sure her team played with more defensive intensity, structure and “getting our fire going” since her players recently had struggled with pressing their opponents.
“We started with man-to-man until about halfway through the third quarter (when) we switched to the three-quarter court press,” she added.
The Lady ’Riders started out of the gate strong. They ended the first period with a 12-6 lead and went into halftime with a 32-14 advantage.
Sophomore Cora Wyers and senior Andrea Robson each scored 12 points in the first half.
Wyers led Western overall with 20 points. She also collected five blocks and five rebounds.
Robson scored 17 points overall to go with five rebounds and four steals. She fouled out with 3:23 left in the game.
Junior Brooke Ommert added 10 points. She also had five steals, four assists and two rebounds.
Western edged the visitors 14-12 in the third quarter. New London outscored Western 17-14 in the final stanza.
“If you look at that score, we win the second half by one point,” Lady Cats coach Eric Mitchell said. “(Our) inexperience showed a bit. You have to play the entire time; you can’t choose.”
Two New London players hit double-digits, with senior Morgan Luedy scoring 18 points and junior Elizabeth Logan adding 11. Luedy also grabbed five steals and three rebounds.
Senior Eden Copley, who scored 8 points, pulled down five rebounds.
Mitchell said the Lady Cats need to know they can’t be a two-player team and realize they need to play stronger on a consistent basis.
“We have to play physical for four quarters,” he added. “They manhandled us in the first half. … Western’s got a nice team. Their coaching staff has done a good job over here to prepare them for this (game).”
Since Pierson said she knows New London likes playing a 1-3-1 three-quarter defense with Western players getting strong with more time in the gym, she said her “players can pass that ball now” and looked for her team to throw long outlet passes.
“They have the strength to do it,” the Western coach added. “They’re seeing each other; they’re seeing the floor.”
Later in the game, New London defenders banged around the Western players under the basket, especially Ommert.
“There’s going to be some girls with some bruises and scrapes,” Mitchell, who called it a very physical game.
The jayvee Lady ’Riders also had a strong start, ending the first period with a 9-0 lead. Western scored 23 in the next period and held New London to 6. The home team blanked the Lady Cats in the final quarter, 6-0, on the way to a 45-16 win.
Western freshman Avery Tubbs led all scorers with 11 points. New London freshman Lexi Duggar had 6 points.
Wyers was a quiet, but disrupting offensive and defensive force for Western on Saturday. She hit 9-of-14 from the floor and 2-of-4 free throws for her 20 points.
“She’s just an exceptional kid. She is not a secret anymore. The entire conference knows her name. She is just a force to be reckoned with because she can handle pressure on the block as well as finish at the same time,” Pierson said. “She knows how to seal. She looks to score on either the right- or left-hand side.
Wyers holds the school record for blocks in a game with eight, which she accomplished last season. She had five Saturday.
Pierson is pleased with the junior’s developing maturity and leadership ability.
“I could not be any prouder about her maturity. She is coming into her own in becoming a little bit of a leader in the middle there. She’s directing traffic, telling people what to do and how she wants the ball,” Pierson said.
The coach sees the guard as Western’s shot blocker and “a dymanic rebounder” who is improving at the free-throw line.
“If she sees the ball, she is going up with two hands to go get it,” Pierson said.
Western hosts Mapleton in a FC game Thursday. That same night, New London goes to South Central for another league match.
Follow Reflector staff writer Cary Ashby on Twitter at @Cary_reporter and on Facebook at "Cary Ashby — reporter & comic book blogger."
New London 6 8 12 17 — 43
Western 12 20 14 14 — 60
New London: Kora Schmidt 0-1-1, Elizabeth Logan 5-1-11, Eden Copley 2-3-8, Morgan Luedy 7-3-18, Sidney Allen 0-1-1, Gabby Ledbetter 2-0-4 — 16-9-43
Western: Katie Hipp 1-5-7, Jenna Skrada 1-0-2, Taylor Good 1-2-4, Andrea Robson 7-0-17, Brooke Ommert 4-2-10, Cora Wyers 9-2-20 — 21-11-60