KIRKLAND – After losing to Marquette and IC Catholic last week, the Hinckley-Big Rock girls basketball team wanted to get out to a fast start against Hiawatha on Monday night.
The Royals started the game on a 16-0 run and never looked back in a 63-8 win. H-BR (4-4, 1-0) started the Little Ten Conference season on the right foot.
Royals coach Greg Burks was pleased with the fast start after struggling last week.
“I was happy,” Burks said. “We have struggled in our last two games and we came out tonight and got some points on the board early, which I think was key. We needed something like this.”
Senior Lauren Paver led the way for H-BR with 14 points and three rebounds.
“We played very well. We played some very good defense,” Paver said. “We tried out some different defenses to see how they worked and we did well with those.”
The H-BR defense gave Hiawatha (2-6, 0-1) fits all night. Turnovers were a major problem for the Hawks. Burks said his team was trying to play solid defense, and the turnovers will come.
“We were just playing fundamental defense. I truly believe that when you stick to fundamental defense, [turnovers] happen,” Burks said. “It isn’t always something that you need to go out and force. If you are out there doing the things that you are supposed to be doing defensively, turnovers are a result of you playing hard.”
The Hawks were having problems on offense and also were missing three of their starters for the game with injuries. Sophomore Lauren Watson was out with a shoulder injury and freshman Michelle Percudani was out with a head injury.
“We have been pulling up a lot of kids,” Hiawatha coach Jenna Araujo said. “We are a small program to begin with and we have a lot of freshmen and sophomores. It’s just a young team and we are working to just kind of learn a lot knew things.”
Because the H-BR starters pushed the game out to a big lead, some of the Royals’ reserves were able to get more experience.
Lexi Gonzalez came off the bench to finish with six points, two assists and two rebounds, and Rose Clancy scored two points and pulled down a game-high seven rebounds.
“We got some good minutes from the bench players who come into practice and put in the time every day and they haven’t gotten a lot of minutes in our first seven games,” Burks said.
Hiawatha’s leading scorer was Madison Marshall, who finished with all eight points. The Hawks will travel to LaMoille on Thursday night.
“The good thing about these kids is that they are not giving up, and that is what I am asking from them right now,” Araujo said. “So we are just going to continue with the fundamentals and keep working on that small stuff.”
For H-BR, Jacqueline Madden and Andrea Brinkley also finished in double figures with 12 and 10 points, respectively. Karrigan Cowan chipped in with eight points.
The next game for the Royals will be against Indian Creek on Thursday.
“I know that they will be ready to go,” Burks said. “They are a very good team and the coaches will certainly have them ready. So, we will have our hands full. We’ll get a couple of days of practice and try and be prepared ourselves.”