Thursday night, the Norwalk Lady Truckers dominated in every single category of their 66-37 non-league game over Western Reserve.
With the win, Norwalk snapped the Lady ‘Riders 14-game winning streak dating back to Nov. 29.
Although Western (15-2) got on the board first with an Andrea Robson three-pointer, the Truckers came right back down the floor and Jiselle Thomas drilled a three-ball to tie the game. Thomas then hit a layup and another three-pointer to give Norwalk its’ first eight points of the game and a five-point lead. It was an advantage that would not be questioned.
By the end of the first quarter, it was 12-4 Truckers. Robson had all of Western’s points in the first period.
“I told the girls in the locker room that that is the most determined I’ve seen them play all year,” Norwalk coach Brock Manlet said. “We came out with a chip on our shoulder and we were all over the place defensively, wreaking havoc.”
The Truckers forced an astounding 30 turnovers in the contest — havoc indeed. Jiselle Thomas had four steals, followed by three each from Kaelyn Harkness, Jada Thomas and Jasmine Thomas.
“If we play like that all the time, we’re going to be tough. I was very pleased to see that,” Manlet said.
By halftime, Norwalk pushed its’ lead to 31-13. After outscoring Western 20-6 in the third, the Truckers were up 51-19 for their largest lead of the night thus far.
Despite the large point-differential, only two Truckers were able to reach double-digits. Jiselle Thomas led the way with 26 and Leah Malson scored 10.
“That’s what she does,” Manlet said of Thomas. “We struggled a little bit early, but Leah was able to come in and make some shots. I think the loosened it up a little bit. Those two girls led us. They were huge in the first half.”
With his team allowing just 19 points through three quarters, Manlet couldn’t give his defense high enough.
“We knew we had our hands full because Robson is a good shooter and Wyers is very tough down low. I thought our ability to kind of switch up what we were doing — sometimes go man, sometimes zone — just switching it up, kept them off-balanced and slow them down just enough for us to get some steals,” he said.
Only three players for the ‘Riders were able to find the basket. Cora Wyers scored 21, Robson 12 and Brooke Ommert four.
“Their intensity on defense is what we knew was going to be a struggle for us,” Western coach Laura Pierson said. “Norwalk really had an intense, physical ball game. Our youth really showed. We’ve only got one senior to their five or six. When you have a dynamic player like Jiselle who is going to be able to find the rim as much as she does, we’ve got to be able to adjust to some of those things. It happened, but it happened to slowly for us.”
Robson led the ‘Riders with 10 rebounds for a double-double. Wyers tallied six.
“We challenged them at halftime, knowing how much we were down, we just said ‘Okay we need to find our little click. When we find that click, that’s when we need to start taking it at them.’ So Cora she had people hanging on her all night — very physical ball game — and she took it at them for 21 points. I could not be more proud of Andrea and Cora for just trying to find that click that we asked them to find,” Pierson said.
The ‘Riders need to get back on the winning side of things in order to stay in the race for the Firelands Conference title, as they have a conference game at Crestview on Saturday.
Norwalk will take on Willard on Saturday, as those two teams will be facing each other as NOL foes for the final time.
Harkness 1-0-3; Jada Thomas 4-1-9; Jasmine Thomas 4-0-8; Geretz 1-0-2; Jiselle Thomas 11-2-26; Rodriguez 2-2-6; Case 1-0-2; Malson 4-1-10. Totals 28-6-66.
W. Reserve 37
Robson 5-1-12; Ommert 2-0-4; Wyers 8-5-21. Totals 15-6-37.
Norwalk 12 19 20 15 — 66
W. Reserve 4 9 6 18 — 37