AFTON - Overcoming a bad case of the opening night blahs, Afton coasted to a 53-38 victory over Seneca, Mo., here Tuesday night.
“It was just a horrendous first half,” Lady Eagles' coach Ronnie Maple said. “Once we relaxed, we came back out and handled the pressure We got the ball to the people we need to get it to. We did a lot better job in the second half. The first half was just horrendous.”
Yet, Afton held a 20-19 advantage thanks to an 11-9 edge in the second quarter that saw Darby Todd get six of her eight points on the night.
“We eliminated the turnovers in the second half,” Maple said. “It was the same defense, but we just scored like we're capable.”
The Lady Eagles exploded for 17 points in the third quarter, getting 3-point goals from Ashley Carroll and Jacy Grimes. That helped Afton pad its lead to 37-23 heading into the final stanza.
The closest Seneca would get was 13 (47-33) with 2:10 remaining on a follow shot by Jacci Yust.
Afton pulled away again, getting a layup from Natasha Larsen and a free throw and a trey from Shelbie Van Pielt.
The Lady Indians scored the last five points to create the final margin.
“We've got some girls who are young and it's the first game of the year - and they (the Lady Indians) are a good basketball team that can put some pressure on you,” Maple said. “Defensively, we gave up buckets we normally don't, and they handled the pressure we put on them. They are good team. They will be comparable to a lot of good teams around here.”
Macy Gibson headed up the AHS scoring with 15 points, getting nine of that in the second half. Larsen also flourished in the second half, scoring eight of her 10 points.
“I am excited about this group - we've just got to keep working hard,” Maple said.
Yust and Erin Esposito scored 12 and 10 points, respectively, for Seneca.
The Lady Eagles will be busy over the holiday weekend, traveling to Adair Friday for a scrimmage. They are off until Nov. 30, when they travel to Fairland.
Afton 53, Seneca 38
Seneca, Mo. 10 9 4 15 - 38
Afton 9 11 17 16 - 53
Seneca - Yust 12, Esposito 10, M. Cook 8, Clark 6, T. Cook 2.
Afton - Gibson 15, Larsen 10, Carroll 8, Todd 8, Grimes 6, VanPielt 4, Shaul 2.
3-point goals - Carroll 2, Grimes 1, VanPielt 1. Total fouls - Seneca 22, Afton 14. Fouled out - M. Cook, Clark.