Warren on top: Lady Warriors defeat Meadowbrook, 66-41, in season opener

VINCENT – To borrow the line from the 1960s musical group The Honeys, growing up is hard to do.

Featuring a varsity roster that includes four sophomores and a freshman, a youthful Warren Lady Warriors squad got their first taste of just how hard growing up can be Monday night as the girls welcomed the visiting Meadowbrook Colts to Vincent for a non-conference game.

In the end, even a little inexperience and first-game jitters couldn’t slow down a Lady Warrior offense that shot 47 percent from the field, including 38 percent from beyond the arc, as Warren pulled out a 66-41 win.

“We did hit shots,” said Warren girls’ basketball coach Amy Colgrove. “I thought we moved the ball well, but you could tell we had a lot of people out there it was their first varsity game.”

Despite their youth, with even a pair of seniors relatively new to the varsity court, the Lady Warriors never trailed in the contest as Meadowbrook hit just 18-of-51 field goal attempts.

At the other end of the court, the Lady Warriors found their offensive spark behind senior Kendra Lynch and junior Victoria Buzzard, two of only a handful of players with any varsity experience.

Together, the duo accounted for half of Warren’s offense with Buzzard leading all scorers with a game high 22, including 16 in the second half as the Lady Warriors pulled away.

“For the most part we played pretty well,” Buzzard said. “But we have a lot of people that are just getting into the groove of playing varsity.”

It definitely took the Lady Warriors a while to settle into their groove, as Warren lead by just a single point, 14-13, after the first quarter of play.

In the first period, the game saw Meadowbrook tie the game on four different occasions and despite Warren opening up an eight point lead at one point, the Lady Colts kept pace by closing out the final minute of the stanza on a 7-0 run, capped by Mayzie Epperson’s three-pointer with five seconds to play.

Leading by a single point to start the second, Lynch capitalized on her experience as one of the few returning players by connecting on a pair of three-pointers off assists from Sarah Proctor. Those two quick threes spurred Warren out to a 21-13 advantage with 6:25 in the first half, prompting a timeout from Meadowbrook.

That timeout couldn’t right the ship for Meadowbrook, as the lead hit double figures for the first time on freshman Katie Rauch’s steal and bucket with 3:55 in the opening half.

“She (Colgrove) said it was going to be a close game till the end of the first quarter, maybe halftime,” Buzzard explained. “We just had to keep wearing them down.”

The Lady Warriors offense certainly began to wear on the Meadowbrook defense, which couldn’t keep pace with Warren’s constant desire to run the court.

Of course, the offense was kind of a necessity because the defense wasn’t exactly stellar, Colgrove noted.

“We have a lot of stuff we have to clean up,” Colgrove said. “We had a lot of girls playing tight. A lot of stuff we were doing in practice just went out the window.”

The one thing that didn’t go out the window was the shooting, which carried the load as Warren hit on 12-of-25 shots from the field in the first half and 11-of-24 in the second. The second half also featured the Lady Warriors catching fire from beyond the arc as Warren hit on 4-of-8 threes.

“They made the extra pass and were able to get the wide open shots,” Colgrove said.

Those wide open shots led the Lady Warriors to a 14-point advantage, 39-25, on Buzzard’s three with 6:15 in the third quarter and from there the lead kept on growing. The margin hit 20 for the first time on Proctor’s bucket off a Buzzard assist.

Lynch’s basket as time expired in the third gave Warren a 53-31 lead heading into the final period.

Warren expanded the lead by just three points in the final stanza, as they hit on just 3-of-12 shots in the final quarter.

That final quarter saw the Lady Warriors put all four sophomores and the freshman on the court at the same time, and throughout the game it was common for at least two young warriors to be patrolling the hardwood, looking up to their few veteran stalwarts.

“We have a lot of work to do, but we’ll get there,” Buzzard said.