It was the season opener. A new coach. Great anticipation. A mix of veteran and new players. High hopes. A familiar opponent. All of the ingredients for an exciting opening to the 2019-20 basketball season. And if it weren't for a 26-9 free throw advantage for the Audubon Wheelers, the Charger girls may indeed have come away with a road win last night.
But it was not to be. The Chargers won the game from the floor, outscoring the Wheelers, 40-38, but the huge Audubon advantage from the charity stripe enabled the hosts to take down ACGC, 65-49.
The free throw advantage for Audubon started early as the Wheelers made seven consecutive in the the first quarter to take a nine point 23-14 lead after the first eight minutes. The hosts also had the hot hand from the floor in the early going, connecting on seven of ten field goal attempts.
ACGC closed the gap to 35-28 by halftime with Kennedy Young and Alaina Bunde each hitting two field goals and the team shooting better than fifty percent (7-13) from the floor. Turnovers played a factor in the opening half as the Audubon full court pressure caused sixteen miscues by the Chargers.
Cold shooting by the hosts to open the third stanza helped the Chargers to close the gap to two points when Kylie Young made two free throws and EmmaKay McClain knocked down a three ball at the 4:22 mark to make the score 35-33. Unfortunately McClain's basket was the last for the Chargers until just forty five seconds remained in the quarter. Still, at the end of the quarter the Chargers were down by just six points at 43-37.
A cold start to the final quarter spelled doom for the locals as Audubon outscored ACGC 8-2 in the first four minutes to take a commanding 51-39 lead. Forced to foul, the Chargers could only watch as the Wheelers made eight of ten free throws in the last half of the quarter to clinch the win.
Two Chargers managed to hit double figures in scoring with Alaina Bunde leading the way with 12 points and Kylie Young coming up with 10. Bunde was the leading rebounder with seven and also led the team in steals with five. Jorja Hoover dished out seven assists for the night and came up with four steals.
While the Wheelers connected on 81% (26-32) of their free throws, ACGC was 9 of 17 for 53% from the line. The Chargers shot 38% from the field on 19 makes in 50 tries that included two successful three pointers in twelve attempts. Audubon was 16 of 38 from the floor including four makes from beyond the arc.
Despite the loss, head coach Brad Baudler found some positives in his team's play. "I thought we really played hard and fought back twice during the game. We were able to force a lot of Audubon turnovers (The Wheelers had twenty five turnovers for the game). At the same time, we need to move out feet more quickly on defense. Offensively we need to slow down when being pressed and be more patient in our half court offense to get better shots."
The Chargers are are off until after the Thanksgiving break and will return to action on Friday, December 6 when they will travel to Madrid for the WCAC opener. The girls' game is scheduled for 6 PM with the boys' game to follow in the boys' season opener.
Score by quarter
ACGC 14 14 9 12--49
Aud 23 12 8 22--65
FG 3Pt FT O-D AST STL TP
Lemke 1-3 1-2 0-0 2-1 2 0 3
Campbell 2-4 0-1 2-3 0-2 0 0 4
Dorsey 1-2 0-0 1-2 1-0 0 0 3
Van Meter 1-2 0-0 1-2 0-1 1 0 3
Hoover 1-5 0-1 0-2 3-0 7 4 2
KyYoung 3-11 0-3 4-5 2-1 2 1 10
McClain 1-3 1-1 0-0 0-1 0 1 2
Bunde 5-8 0-0 2-3 4-3 0 5 12
KeYoung 4-12 0-4 1-2 0-4 0 0 9