WARDSVILLE — There will typically be some rust to knock off during the first basketball game of the season.
The Blair Oaks Lady Falcons knocked off that rust with their full-court press.
After falling behind 5-0, the Lady Falcons used their full-court pressure to turn the game in their favor, answering with a 10-0 run to begin their season with a 53-32 win Monday against the Fulton Lady Hornets.
"We want to put the pressure on early and make teams uncomfortable," Blair Oaks coach Brandon Moore said after winning in his head-coaching debut. "We're not going to get in teams' faces and trap the whole time, but there are times we'll go in a three-quarter full court (press) and make teams think about what they're doing."
That pressure led to 26 Fulton turnovers, with at least five in every quarter.
"We got a lot of deflections, and that's exactly what we want," Moore said.
It took until the 4:42 mark of the first quarter for Blair Oaks to score, when Bailey Rissmiller drove the lane and made a layup. Grace Boessen followed with a 16-footer on the baseline.
Once the ball started going through the hoop, the first-game jitters began to disappear for the Lady Falcons.
"We've had three really good weeks of practice, but as a coach, you expect Game 1 to be a little bit sluggish," Moore said. "Practices are upbeat, they're very intense, but it's hard to simulate game speed."
Mallorie Fick capped the 10-0 Blair Oaks run with a 3-pointer on a kick-out pass with 1:43 left in the opening quarter.
The Lady Falcons led 14-11 after one quarter, but Fick widened the gap in the second, making a 3 off a steal and then hitting a pair of free throws.
"Once you get your offensive leaders going, everyone else gets a little more comfortable," Moore said.
Fulton was held to one field goal in the second quarter, as Blair Oaks stretched its lead to 27-16 at halftime.
Blair Oaks began the third quarter on a 7-0 run to go ahead by 18 points. The Lady Falcons were ahead 40-24 entering the fourth quarter and led by as many as 27 points in the second half.
"The flow was much better in the second half," Moore said. "We settled in."
Foul trouble can be an issue with the full-court press, but only one Blair Oaks player finished the game with more than two fouls.
"We went 10 players deep tonight," Moore said. "When you press a lot and you're active and you're going for steals, you're going to foul. But you also get some steals and hopefully some quick buckets."
Fick finished with a game-high 23 points, shooting 5-of-9 from 3-point range and hitting three 3s in the fourth quarter.
"Sometimes it takes a little while for her to get comfortable and find some openings," Moore said. "Once she does, she can really get several shots to go."
Rissmiller added nine points for Blair Oaks, while Alyssa Hargus finished with seven points. Autumn Bax, a 6-foot freshman, had four points and a team-high six rebounds in her high school debut.
"She has really progressed in the last 6-8 months," Moore said of Bax. "Varsity volleyball made her much stronger, and you can see her athleticism and her length are a gift."
Kier Henderson came off the bench to lead Fulton (0-2) with 11 points, shooting 6-of-8 at the free-throw line. Sydney Hedgepath added seven points and Carly Fisher finished with six points and seven rebounds.
Blair Oaks (1-0) will host Helias today, with the JV game starting at 6 p.m. and varsity to follow at 7:30 p.m. Normally, that contest is the season opener for the Lady Falcons.
"This game tonight allowed us to stretch our legs, and see what we can do and what we need to work on," Moore said. "I know it's a quick turnaround, but it's a good confidence-booster for the girls."
Blair Oaks started the night with a 58-9 win in the JV game, outscoring Fulton 23-0 in the second quarter.
Emma Wolken finished with a game-high 19 points for the Lady Falcons (1-0), while Bax and Aleksa Ortmeyer each added 11.