By Travis Smola
The first month of the season has been a rough one for the Lady Bulldogs basketball team. Vicksburg was 0-5 going into a Dec. 19 matchup against the Portage Northern Huskies.
The result was a decisive 46-29 victory. “It feels good to get that monkey off our back,” head coach Jesse Vanabel said. “Now we know we can win.”
This year’s team is extremely young, fielding only two seniors in Hailey Burr and Lydia Dorscht. The team’s inexperience wasn’t so apparent against the Huskies. The Lady Bulldogs were able to take an early lead they never relinquished.
One of the big factors in the game was free throws. Portage Northern made a lot of mistakes in the game and the girls were able to connect on 14 free throws. Vanabel said it was a marked improvement over the previous five games.
The other big factor was the girls’ patience towards the end of the game. The Huskies defense became noticeably more aggressive in the third and fourth periods, but Vicksburg managed to burn the clock on the strength of their passing.
The Lady Bulldogs also managed to spread the ball around in the game. Leading scorer Kelsey Diekman put up 12 points. Dorscht had nine. Junior Madeleine Geiger and freshman Brady Brown each had seven.
Vicksburg’s losses this season came against Comstock, Three Rivers, Paw Paw, Otsego, Allegan and Sturgis. While the team is in a bit of a hole right now with a 1-6 record, there’s still a lot of season left and anything can happen.
Case in point was last year when the team was 3-8 at the end of January. The team then rattled off seven straight wins to get right back into the thick of things. Vanabel said the group has gotten better with every game.