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Lady Falcons shrug off slow start in victory vs. Fulton

Lady Falcons shrug off slow start in victory vs. Fulton

December 7th, 2017 by Jason Strickland in Sports Prep

Spectators await the start of basketball in Blair Oaks' gymnasium as the Falcons host Fulton Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017.

Photo by Jason Strickland /News Tribune.

WARDSVILLE, Mo. — Once the shots started falling for the Blair Oaks Lady Falcons, there wasn't much the Fulton Lady Hornets could do to stop it.

Blair Oaks led 7-6 about 4:20 into Wednesday night's game, but scored 17 points in the final three minutes of the opening quarter on its way to a 64-35 win.

"We did come out a little sluggish," Blair Oaks coach Darren Heckman said. "We talked about finishing quarters tonight and I thought we did a good job at that."

By halftime, the Lady Falcons led 45-17 thanks to a 6-of-12 clip from beyond the arc.

Kayla Jones came off the bench for a pair of 3-pointers in the first half — the first for a 10-6 lead and the second for a 37-11 advantage.

"That gives us some confidence," Heckman said. "Early on in the season we've had some dry spells where we haven't scored and haven't seen the ball go in. Tonight it was nice going in a little bit more."

Jones added a layup off a steal late in the first half for 10 points.

The Lady Falcons used a full-court press plus double teams in the half court to help create 24 first-half turnovers.

"The press helped us get it moving a little bit," Heckman said. "A lot of times at the beginning of the game maybe the press wasn't as active as it could have been. That's something you have to be patient with as a coach. You've got to stay in it if they score a couple times. You can't get out of it. You've got to commit to it and stay with it."

The big lead allowed Blair Oaks to utilize its bench throughout the game, leading to 35 of the points being scored by the six bench players.

"Our bench did a really good job tonight," Heckman said. "Kayla Jones had a really good game. She came in and gave us a lot of energy."

Sydney Wilde came off the bench to lead Blair Oaks with 12 points. She made both of her 3-pointers and was 4-of-6 at the free-throw line. The rest of the team combined to shoot 5-of-11 from the line.

We talked about that," Heckman said. "We're going to have to shoot free throws better."

Makenna Kliethermes scored 11 points on 4-of-5 shooting, including a 3-pointer. Blair Oaks finished 7-of-19 from deep, taking advantage of Fulton's zone defense.

"We want them to play with confidence," Heckman said. "If they've got a good look then take it."

Heckman added the Lady Falcons still have adjustments to make as far as utilizing its size in the post.

"That's something we've just need to keep working on is getting comfortable with feeding the post and knowing when its open and when it isn't," he said.

Blair Oaks (4-1) won't have much time for adjustments as it hosts St. James tonight.

"It was good to play a lot of people tonight," Heckman said. "We'll have to come ready to go. The girls would rather play games than practice."

Blair Oaks won Wednesday's JV game 45-7. Bailey Rissmiller paced the Lady Falcons with 22 points.

In the freshman game, Blair Oaks won 41-28. Claire Russell and Hannah Verslues each scored 10 to lead the Lady Falcons.