Norwell is starting to make a habit of starting fast and it’s paying off.
Starting midway through the first quarter Tuesday at Concordia, the Knights (6-1) scored 13 points to go up 17-4 and they rolled to a 53-37 victory.
“I really liked our start, and that’s been a couple games in a row where we’ve started really well,” Norwell coach Eric Thornton said.
Breann Barger scored eight of her 17 points in the first quarter, including two free throws.
Kaylee Fuelling started the night hot by hitting three of her four shots and scoring nine in the first quarter.
The Cadets (4-2) had trouble shooting most of the game, hitting 7 of 26 shots through the first three quarters. That statistic flipped in the fourth quarter, as Concordia shot 9 of 12 behind Annaka Nelson, who hit all three of her shots, and Grace Hedtke, who came off the bench to hit two shots.
But the Knights were able to stay comfortably in the lead down the stretch bymaking 12 of 14 foul shots.
“I loved our defense: Our goal was to hold them under 40 tonight,” Thornton said. “That’s where we needed to be, defensively, tonight. They did make a run and they did a good job, but our kids played really well defensively tonight against a good team. I know they came off that game against Homestead (a 73-29 loss Friday), and they didn’t want it to be that sort of spread. But Concordia’s a prideful program, and they’re going to come off of a loss like that ready to play.”
Fuelling led all scorers with 19 points, eight of them in the final quarter, and Maiah Shelton scored nine points.
Although the Knights, who are ranked No. 4 in Class 3A by the Indiana Coaches of Girls Sports Association, struggled shooting 3-pointers, hitting just two of nine, they shot 17 of 43 (nearly 40%) overall.
“They definitely have really strong man-to-man, so that was kind of new to see,” Barger said of the Concordia defense. “We play a lot of zone, so that was really good to play against and see how we react to that.”
Norwell did score on the quick layup a few times, especially in the first quarter, but more often needed several passes before finding the right shot.
“And you have to be even better about that against Concordia, because they’re not going to give you something on the first two or three sides of the floor; you’re going to have to reverse it to the fourth, to the fifth, and possibly even beyond that,” Thornton said. “Their defense is so solid, and I thought we were more patient as the game went on and were able to get it on our drives and draw help and kick it.”
Annaka Nelson led Concordia with 10 points, and Elle Fritcha scored seven.
Fuelling left the game briefly in the third quarter after getting hit in the throat, but he returned in the fourth quarter.