With a quarter of the season gone after just one game, Indian Creek girls basketball coach Ciaran Lesikar figured this isn’t a bad way to start.
After trailing in the first quarter, the Eagles rallied before the half and beat Glenelg Country School, 54-42, to christen their new facility called the “Eagle Dome” with a win.
“With four games, we celebrate the small victories,” Lesikar said. “Twenty-five percent of our season down, and we’re undefeated.”
The Eagles’ protected their lead against a potential Dragons comeback thanks to an overwhelming performance by point guard Megan Bunker, the returning first-team All-County senior who scored 32 points.
After finalizing the victory, a smile split across Bunker’s face, so bright that it seemed to show right through the face mask.
“I’m just so glad to be a part of this team. To have that community again,” Bunker said. “You never think of how important it is in your life, and how much it means to you, until it gets taken away. Just being back, I’m just so happy. It feels amazing.”
It’s not just the lateness of the season, a mid-February start that’d normally mark the end of play for the year, that made this first game unusual. Due to gathering restrictions earlier in the month, the Eagles had limited, socially-distant practices in the school’s new 27,000-square foot multi-purpose facility until recently. Then, the weekend’s ice storm knocked out what would have been their first game in Frederick.
The Eagles naturally showed some rust out of the gates on Wednesday, as Glenelg Country led 13-10 after the first quarter.
“After the first five or six minutes, everything started snapping together. I couldn’t be more pleased, considering,” Lesikar said. “ … Honestly, even a little better than I had anticipated. Are we still going to have to play better against better teams? Yeah. St. Mary’s is certainly better. But it was a great first outing.”
When some offensive tactics didn’t work, Bunker said her squad went back to the drawing board. That seemed to work, given Indian Creek claimed a 23-21 lead by halftime.
“They started getting more buckets on the transition, and we weren’t getting back like we were supposed to,” Dragons coach Will Harper said. “They were just quicker to the ball. They were just a little bit hungrier today.”
Indian Creek and Glenelg Country (0-1) swapped roles come the fourth quarter. The Dragons’ more aggressive play forced more turnovers by Indian Creek, and a few made shots — including a 3-pointer from senior Caroline Haynes (16 points) — sliced Indian Creek’s lead in half to five.
The Eagles wouldn’t allow them to go any closer than that.
“I think our team is really rooted in our defense. We have a great zone match-up. I really think that pulled us together; when teams have runs, we just go back to our defense and make sure that’s what we hold strong,” Bunker said.
While Indian Creek’s offense gummed up the Dragons’ shooters, its offense got to work.
Every time the ball found Bunker’s hands on the opposite end, the point guard stormed up the court, easily shaking off two or three Dragons flanking her. When Bunker was down on her scoring end, she orchestrated an offense around her that kept moving. Likewise, the Eagles slowed the tempo down to their pace with trips to the foul line. Bunker connected on four free throws towards the end.
“They made a little run at the end, got it down to five. We got the ball to the seniors. Megan and Janeiyah [Cajudoy] are key, ‘cause [the Dragons’] press didn’t work,” Lesikar said. “Janeiyah’s just too quick, too good. I’m sure that poked through their game plan a little bit.”
Losing its grasp on a game like this won’t faze Glenelg Country going forward.
“I told them I was just happy to be out there, so I didn’t yell at them too bad,” Harper said. “ … Let’s figure out all of our issues at practice. I’m just happy we’re out there.”
Glenelg Country 47, McDonogh 44 (Boys)
In the season opener for the Dragons’ boys, Glenelg Country held on for the road win in a low-scoring affair. Franklin Ayissi Etoh scored seven of his game-high 16 points in the fourth quarter to help secure the victory. Austin Williams also finished in double figures scoring with 10 points.