By Travis Whitton
For The Herald Bulletin
MIDDLETOWN, Ind. —
It wasn’t always pretty, but the Shenandoah Raiders opened their girls basketball season by thrashing Blue River 61-37 on Tuesday.
The Vikings got a 3-pointer from Brenna Koontz, but Haley Hudson and Breanne Dunigan scored the next two buckets for Shenandoah giving them a 4-3 lead with 6:25 remaining, and the Raiders never trailed again.
As a matter of fact, the Raiders went on an 18-6 run after Koontz’s bomb, and Shenandoah doubled up Blue River 18-9 by the end of the first quarter.
The Vikings edged their way back into the game and trailed 25-20 with 3:16 left before the half, but Rachel Krathwohl took over from there, scoring six points in the final 2:46. Shenandoah led 34-20 at intermission.
The Raiders outscored their visitors 25-17 in the second half, with Krathwohl accounting for 13 of her team’s 25 points.
“Rachel’s an experienced player,” said Raiders coach Chelsea Kilian. “She started for us last year, and she was able to score a little bit for us last year. We knew what we were getting with Rachel.”
Despite the large margin of victory, both teams were prone to throwing the ball away. Shenandoah coughed it up 21 times, and the Vikings gave the ball away 29 times.
Although Kilian was pleased with the win, she knew that there would be some nerves on the part of her team in their first real action of the season.
“Some of them were coming into it first game, and you always have those first jitters or the things that you see that you obviously need to work on,” said Kilian. “I’m pretty proud of the girls (and) the way they competed tonight.”
The Raiders had a size advantage over Blue River, and Kilian said she wanted to take advantage of her team’s strength. They have four players that stand 5-foot-8 or taller.
“We knew we were a little bit bigger so we pounded it inside a little bit,” she said. “We do a good job using a zone and compacting a little bit.”
Shenandoah could only muster a three-rebound advantage, but where its size came into play was when the Vikings were on offense. They shot just a shade over 28 percent from the field with most of those coming from 15 feet or deeper.
Kilian said that she spoke to her girls about being consistent defensively, but she said that she was pleased with their play in the first game of the season.
“Obviously, coaches always find things they always need to work on — the team can work on — but I was pleased with their effort, their attitude, how they responded the rest of the game,” she said. “So we’ll take that and move forward.”