December 2nd, 2011

NDA's Second Half Surge Downs Rockets

Paul Najjar

CSN Staff Writer

NDA's Second Half Surge Downs Rockets
photo by Paul Najjar

Assumption's sluggish start, finish contribute to loss

The Notre Dame Academy Pandas raced to an 8-0 lead and made that hold up as they defeated the Assumption Rockets Friday evening 39-35. The visiting Pandas from Northern Kentucky had just enough offense to hold back a stellar effort from the host Rockets.

The Pandas held Assumption scoreless in the first five minutes of the game until 6'5" freshman Nora Kiesler scored on an offensive rebound with 3:10 to go in the first quarter. NDA took that early 8-0 lead, but Kiesler scored 11 of the next 13 Assumption points as the Rockets ended the first quarter on a 13-0 run.

But the Pandas quickly closed the gap starting the second quarter with a 9-2 run that gave them a 17-15 lead on their way to a 24-22 halftime advantage.

Rockets coach Steve Small deployed 10 players throughout the game, displaying strong depth up and down the roster. With Kiesler coming off the bench and scoring 18 points, Small believes that his team's depth is a real advantage.

"We weren't as scrappy as I'd like to see," said Small. "And we didn't rebound very well. We have to win with defense and rebounding, and we didn't have enough of either tonight. But that's ok. It's a good lesson learned for the girls. We're 1-1 now and we have the capability of being a real nice basketball team."

The young Assumption team has only two seniors, both starters, in guard Becca Durbin and forward Morgan Foley. They received big contriubtions from junior forwards Katie Friedrich and  Kelsey Kaiser, as well as junior guard Alyx White. With so many players able to contribute, Small sees a bright future as the team moves through its season.

"I still think we're at that confusion stage on offense," Small admitted. "The offense will build during the year and it will come together. We're still trying to teach them what's a good shot and what's a bad shot. Right now, they're an A to B, B to C basketball team and that's what they're used to playing. We're trying to get them to just relax and play."

Kiesler's 18 points led the Rockets as she was a consistent inside target for her teammates. The freshman waged a contested battle with NDA's 6'0" junior center Hannah Thielen pulling down several rebounds and scoring seven buckets from close range. Where the Rockets had difficulty was in their mid-range and three point shooting.

Down 24-22 at the half, Friedrich tied the game early in the third quarter with a short jumper. Later in the quarter, the Rockets tied the score at 29 on two free throws and a layup from Kiesler. But the Pandas responded with a 6-0 run in the final three minutes to take a 35-29 lead into the fourth quarter.

Again the Rockets battled back to tie the score at 35 on the strength of a strong defensive effort and three points apiece from Kiesler and Friedrich. But the home team was held scoreless in the final 4:21 of the game as they couldn't capitalize on several good looks at the basket.

"Notre Dame looked for the open shot and did a good job finding the open person on offense," said Small. "We did a lot of standing tonight, but again, it was a great lesson for us. We came back from that 8-0 deficit and played a really good spurt of basketball. We have to find that type of consistency. We have some depth and we just have to bring them together and get the most out of them."

The Rockets continue their four game home stand next Saturday against Hopkinsville at 7:30pm.


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