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Greg Flint

McKenzie Crowder of North Vermillion puts up a runner just before the horn ended the second quarter.

Early season contests in any sport are all about getting better and, with that in mind, it came as no surprise that North Vermillion traveled to Westville and defeated the Tigers by the score of 48-24.

It was the fourth contest of the season for the visiting Falcons but only the first for the hosts and the difference in game experience showed itself, particularly in the first half.

Westville got on the board first, making a lay-up just 14 seconds into the game, but they would not score again for almost ten minutes.

North Vermillion ran off 23 straight points in the first quarter for a 23-3 lead before the Tigers made their next point, a free throw two minutes into the second period.

In that span, the Falcons got three three-point shots, two from McKenzie Crowder and one from Rylee Dowers, along with a basket by Hannah Ellis to open the 21-point lead.

It only got worse for the Tigers as they managed only another free throw and one basket before halftime while the Falcons were adding nine points, including another trey from Crowder.

The difference in the first half came down to timing as the Falcons were crisp with their passes and fired off quick shots while Westville was a half-step slow on defense and hesitant to take shots on the other end of the floor.

“We had a first-game slow start,” Jay Katavich, the Westville head coach said. “We had way too many turnovers, but we began to settle down and play better in the second half.”

During the halftime intermission, Falcon head coach Mark Switzer told his team that they might have a big enough lead (26 points at 32-6) that they should win the game, so they should focus on being patient on offense instead of taking quick shots as they had done in the first two quarters.

Hit team followed instructions, but they increased their lead to 33 points before Westville scored again, but once the Tigers hit that first shot in the third quarter, they seemed to find more confidence and more aggressiveness in their play.

The hosts got a lay-up and a free throw before North Vermillion got their fourth player in the scorebook when Ava Martin hit a pair of free throws and a lay-up.

The third quarter ended with a jumper by Westville for a 46-11 score, but going into the fourth period, Switzer began to play some reserves along with some of his starters.

“I wanted to see how we’d play with some of our other players out there,” Switzer explained. “We’re not very deep and we need to develop our younger players.”

The Tigers scored first on their way to winning the fourth quarter as they put 13 points on the board in the period (compared to 11 in the first three periods) against only one basket for the Falcons.

Perhaps it was the fact that the young Tigers were playing young Falcons that helped, but the hosts began to find their shooting eyes, hitting three treys in the period and adding a steal for a lay-up to their tally for a final score of 48-24.

After the game, both coaches said their teams needed to improve and that the best way to do that was to play more games, with Katavich adding that he’s looking forward to seeing his team after they have had a chance to get in a few more practices.

There is a possibility that the two squads could face off again in late December as they are both participating in a holiday tournament at Bismarck-Henning.