WALTON — As an entity, Twin Lakes just wanted to see some hustle.
One Indian hustled hard enough to lose her dinner at halftime.
Debuting a youth-laden lineup that will probably experience many growing pains, Twin Lakes bested Hoosier Conference foe Lewis Cass, 45-18, on Thursday to kick off the season.
The Indians rolled out a 10-player varsity lineup that features seven freshmen, three of whom started alongside seniors Gabi Lane and Lucy Mowery. The group combined for 37 points, 10 of the team’s 11 steals and 34 of 37 rebounds.
“Getting that first win is the hardest thing to do, and it’s great to have it out of the way the first game,” longtime head coach Brad Bowsman said. “Lewis Cass is always well coached, and they had some returning players from last year that did a great job of scoring against us. We had to key on (Paxtyn Hicks) and (Kyndal Silcox), make sure we did a good job of covering them up. I thought the girls did well on that.”
Silcox scored the Kings’ first three points of the contest, and the home team led, 3-1, then 6-3 after a Kyla Mennen 3-pointer with 3 minutes, 9 seconds to play in the opening quarter.
Three points from Evelyn Scharer and a Lilly Foster layup ended the frame on a 5-0 run for an 8-6 lead, and the run continued into the second frame for an eventual 14-6 advantage. Addison Ward added four points and Hannah Hodgen contributed a putback during that run.
It quickly became Ward’s show. She netted 10 of her game-high 18 in the opening 16 minutes, and nearly had 13 with a steal and a 3 at the halftime buzzer.
“Addi played good, she hustled,” Mowery said. “She hustled so much, she threw up at halftime.”
“I definitely learned a lot,” she said. “The first half was really rough, but we did a lot better in the second half.
“We finally got it in our head that we know what we’re doing on the court. We just had to calm down.”
The Kings thinned the margin to 14-9, but scored just once more in the final four and a half minutes of the game’s front half. Twin Lakes led, 24-11, at that juncture.
Lewis Cass pulled within 26-17 with just under three minutes to play in the third before a pair of Ward layups brought the score to 30-17 after 24 minutes.
“We put in good effort. We hustled a lot,” Mowery said. “The confidence built up as the game went on. You could see it, just in the energy.”
Mowery hit a pair of free throws to open the fourth, then later dropped in a layup for a 36-18 advantage. Mowery’s play time was limited; she was whistled for two fouls early in the first half and fouled out with two minutes remaining in the contest.
Both Mowery and Lane were in foul trouble early in the game, forcing Foster, a sophomore to play alongside five freshmen for a good chunk of the first half. Bowsman and Mowery both felt it was beneficial for the Class of 2023.
“They carried us for a lot of the game, especially when Gabi and I had two fouls in the first half,” Mowery said. “As the season goes on, they’ll learn (more). They did really good for it being our first game.”
Added Bowsman, “Even when our two seniors got into foul trouble, they didn’t let it bother them. They kept playing hard.”
Ward added seven rebounds, three steals and two blocks in her debut. Scharer compiled five points, nine rebounds and three steals.
“They were just a little bit nervous coming into their first varsity game, playing varsity,” Bowsman said of the group. “We have no place to go but up from here. Just keep improving, getting better.”