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Lady Badgers cruise in season opener

Take down Florence 58-39

Theresa Proudfit/The Daily News Photo NIAGARA’S JESSICA ORATCH battles in the paint against Florence’s Haley Behrmann (13) and Madison Neuens (22) during Tuesday’s girls basketball game at Niagara High School.

NIAGARA, Wis. — The first game of a new season is always exciting for everyone, the players, coaches and fans, and Tuesday was no exception as Niagara welcomed local rival Florence for a non-conference game, defeating the Bobcats 58-39.

The Badgers jumped out to an early lead and never looked back. With a steady press forcing several Florence turnovers, Niagara head coach Karl Lamoreaux was pleased with the 33-15 lead he and his team took into the locker room at halftime.

“For our first game, we ran our two different presses well. I was happy with our performance for our first game, having only had seven practices,” said Lamoreaux.

Another factor was the considerable height advantage Niagara had over Florence.

Jessica Oratch, who was the game’s high scorer with 16 points, towered over most of her opponents throughout last season, and Tuesday night was no different.

Lamoreaux was happy with her play, as well as the rest of his starting five.

“We didn’t handle their pressure early on, the girls were nervous and jittery for the first game,” Florence coach Brad Berry said. “Playing such a strong opponent game one, they forced us to make a lot of first half turnovers, plus playing short-handed, we didn’t respond well to the excitement of the first game.”

Florence senior Kathleen Seldon sat out the game due to injury, with Perry noting that her injury is not season-ending.

Niagara coach Lamoreaux also noted that there were some things his team has to work on, one of them being not fouling so much. Florence shot 29 free throws on the evening.

Despite having 15 first half turnovers, Florence only turned the ball over four times in the second half.

Niagara’s offensive rebounding and ball control were also factors in the game, as was the athleticism of Jasmine Racine who converted steals into points on a couple occasions while the Badgers were pressing.

Cassie Gill had a double-double for the Badgers with 14 points and 11 rebounds, as well as four assists. Racine added 11 points, and three steals. Oratch had seven blocks to go with her aforementioned game-high 16 points.

Jenna Springer led the Lady Cats with 12 points. She also had eight rebounds and six steals.

On Thursday Niagara travels to Goodman to face the Patriots. Florence returns home Thursday for their home opener against another M & O conference foe in Crivitz.

Niagara won the JV game 28-10.

FLORENCE 15 24 — 39

NIAGARA 33 25 — 58

FLORENCE: Jenna Springer 12, Behrmann 7, Jordyn Springer 6, M. Neuens 5, Enders 4, Uren 2, F. Neuens 2, Seibold 1. FT: 17-29. F:16. 3-point FG: none. FG Shooting: 11-45. Rebounds: 33. Fouled Out. M. Neuens.

NIAGARA: Oratch 16, Gill 14, Racine 11, Maki 7, Cretton 6, Dunkes 2, Payette 2. FT 11-15. F:26. 3-point FG: Racine 2, Maki. FG shooting: 22-62. Rebounds: 47.

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