VERMILION — After a pair of losses in a row, Vermilion first-year coach Colin Irish was looking for signs his girls were starting to grasp his system.
Following the Sailors’ 46-33 non-conference win Monday against Huron, Irish thinks things are starting to come along.
Vermilion (4-2) closed the third quarter and opened the fourth on a 12-0 run that put some distance between itself and the young Tigers (1-5). The Sailors forced Huron to take contested shots during that span thanks to a 2-3 zone the Tigers could not seem to figure out.
Huron’s scoreless drought lasted the final 5:32 of the third period and was ended by an Emma Elder free throw with 4:22 showing on the fourth-quarter clock.
The Sailors led 29-27 when Huron’s drought began, and 41-27 when it ended.
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The Vermilion defense held Huron to just 25 percent shooting in the game and a paltry 16 percent in the second half.
Irish was encouraged with his team’s defense, but is still looking for improvement on the offensive end. Vermilion shot just 35 percent from the floor and Irish was not happy about his team scoring just five points in the final 5:36.
“The defense did a really good job and it’s a mindset … doing what we have to do and running our sets,” Irish said. “We want to try to control the action too much sometimes. We were in control of the game, went on that little run that put us up double figures, and instead of pulling it out and running our sets we were trying to force the action.”
Vermilion was able to dominate the boards, outrebounding Huron 36-24. Senior Ellen Rossi led the Sailors with 11 rebounds and dominated the paint on the defensive end, blocking three shots and recording three steals from her spot under the basket in Vermilion’s 2-3.
“In the zone we really have to stay strong, and Coach really stresses communication,” Rossi said. “In the post we really have to talk and call out cutters … and if we don’t box out even one time we get called out for it. Down low we have to set the tone on defense, call everything out, box out and rebound. Then look for the outlet pass.”
Irish was also pleased with his team’s rebounding.
“Rossi was very good, and Ali Kowal did a great job on the weak-side rebounds as well,” he said. “Jasmine (Porter) did a great job. … Everyone did a great job on the boards tonight. That’s something we work on constantly, and weak-side rebounds are important in any basketball game.”
Hannah Bartlome paced Vermilion with 18 points, including hitting 5-of-10 from 3-point range, while AuBree LaForce added 13 points, five assists, four rebounds and four steals.
“It’s a learning process and we’re learning every day … getting better every day,” Irish said. “It’s a whole different mindset and an entirely different system than the girls are used to, but they’re doing a good job. I’m on them fairly hard and they understand that. … They know for us to get where we need to be they have to get better.”
Ashley Myers led the Tigers with 14 points and was the only Huron player to score in double figures.
Two nights ago, against Oak Harbor, the Tigers scored just 33 points as well.
“As well as we shot in the first two quarters, we shot as poorly in the last two quarters,” Huron coach Dino Caporini said. “We were on 27 points for a long time. But we’re getting better. Our last game we couldn’t put anything in the hole. At least we were able to shoot the ball well for a little while tonight and showed some patience.”
Contact Mike Perry at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.