Basketball: Badgers take control, beat Patriots 47-24

Niagara's Ki'Ercidy Hannah blocks a shot by Goodman-Pembine's Katelyn Morrison in Monday's non-conference girls basketball game at Pembine. The Badgers took their season opener 47-24. (Burt Angeli/The Daily News)

PEMBINE, Wis. — Niagara adjusted to Goodman-Pembine’s press and pulled away in the second half for a 47-24 non-conference girls basketball win Monday.

Maddie West scored 14 points and Cassie Gill added 11 for the shorthanded Badgers, who went into the opener without a pre-season scrimmage. Jasmine Racine, an All-M&O Conference player and the Badgers leading scorer returning from last season, sat out the game dealing with concussion protocol.

“This was our first live contact outside of our own team and it definitely showed,” said Niagara head coach Karl Lamoreaux, whose Badgers managed a 15-9 halftime lead. “We struggled mightily in the first half. We just couldn’t get anything going.”

Junior guard Katelyn Morrison’s 10 points paced the Patriots (0-2), who fell behind by 14 early in the second half after back-to-back baskets from Jessica Oratch.

“Defensively we tried to our best to keep them at bay for the first half,” said Patriots coach Stefanie Goyak. “In the second half our press lost a little momentum and they were making their fast breaks. They were able to get an eight to 10-point run on us and it was hard to catch up after that.”

Lamoreaux came up with a plan for the Patriots’ press at halftime. Niagara had 28 turnovers in the game to GP’s 16.

“We got the girls to breathe a little bit at halftime,” Lamoreaux said. “We weren’t prepared for them to be pressing us so we put in a press break at halftime. That seemed to get us easy baskets from time to time.”

The Patriots did shave the difference to seven in the second half before the Badgers fired back.

“Pembine is a good, hard-working team that will win some games this year,” Lamoreaux said. “It wasn’t easy. They fought all the way.”

Niagara owned a 50-35 advantage on the boards. Six-foot Ki’Ercidy Hannah grabbed 14 rebounds with six points and the 6-1 West had 10 rebounds. Oratch, a 6-1 sophomore, snared nine rebounds with eight points.

Goyak said Niagara’s height “just wears you down.”

“They really stacked in the lane against Ki’Ercidy,” Lamoreaux said. “She worked real hard but they were double and triple-teaming her. We need somebody to hit some outside shots when that is happening to free that up.”

The Patriots made just nine field goals in the game and shot 12 percent from the floor.

“We just have to keep shooting,” Goyak said.

The Patriots have more defensive responsibility this season, making adjustments on their own when they recognize the opponents’ offensive alignment.

“I’m super proud of them,” Goyak said. “They’ve really committed to defense.

“This is the first time we’ve tested this out. It’s a little bit of a higher basketball IQ for them this year.”

Lamoreaux cited West and Allison Wells for strong performances.

“As much as we struggled we had a 20-point win so we have to be happy about that,” Lamoreaux said. “The girls want to improve and we will get after it. Wausaukee and Crivitz (coaches) were both in the stands and we didn’t show a whole bunch.”

There’s no telling if Racine will be available for the M&O Conference opener Tuesday, Nov. 28, at Wausaukee. The Rangers are regarded as the league favorite.

“We miss Jasmine,” Lamoreaux said. “We have to play through it and our girls will do that. We will be better by the end of the season because of it.”

Goodman-Pembine plays its Northern Lakes Conference opener Thursday, Nov. 30, taking on Elcho at Pembine.

“I’m excited for our conference games,” Goyak said. “The girls pumped. They’re not even discouraged.”

Niagara defeated Goodman-Pembine in the junior varsity game.

Niagara 15 32 — 47

Goodman-Pembine 9 15 — 24

NIAGARA: Oratch 8, Wells 4, West 14, Khalajia Hannah 4, Gill 11, Ki’Ercidy Hannah 6 FT: 1-4. F: 13. 3PT: West 2. FG: 22-73 (30%). Rebounds: 50 (Hannah 14).

GOODMAN-PEMBINE: Madie McLain 3, Braaten 1, Davis 4, Morrison 10, Nelson 4, Mason McLain 2. FT: 4-11. F: 14. 3PT: Morrison 2. FG: 9-74 (12%). Rebounds: 35.