LIZTON — It took sophomores Isabelle Saylor and Kenna Kirby a bit to get going, but once they did the duo led Tri-West past Southmont 63-37 in the season opener for both teams.
Kirby led the Bruins with 17 points, while Saylor overcame a 0-of-6 start from the field to add 16.
Tri-West (1-0, 1-0 SAC) held a narrow 10-8 lead after a quarter, before Kirby and Saylor combined for 16 second-quarter points to put the Bruins up 31-14 at the half. And Southmont never recovered.
In contrast to last year’s 91-37 Mounties (0-1, 0-1 SAC) loss to the Bruins, who posted a 16-7 record in 2018-19, Southmont’s struggles didn’t come against breaking the Tri-West press, but once they got into their half-court offense.
“We looked 50 times better breaking their press than we did last year,” Southmont fourth-year coach Dustin Oakley said. “I told the girls we had the right looks and the right vision of what we wanted to do, we just didn’t make the right passes.”
Southmont turned the ball over 25 times in the first half, and managed just 3-of-12 shooting from the field in the first 16 minutes.
An Adrie Thompson 3-pointer and a bucket by Saylor to start the second half pushed the Tri-West lead to 36-14 and they cruised from there. The Mounties did put together their best offensive quarter in the third period with a 13-point effort. Addi Charles connected on a trio of 3-pointers. The junior led all scorers with 19 points.
Outside of Charles – who took 16 of Southmont’s 32 shots – the Mounties struggled offensively, but Oakley felt like they started to find a rhythm in the final quarter.
“I thought the last 6-8 minutes we tried to get the dribble downs and post feeds,” he said. “It’s really hard to get the girls to buy into that and get the right post feeds. We have two dominate bigs down there that could work really well together. I think it’s just going to take a little time.”
In the middle Sidney Veatch added five points for the Mounties, while Belle Miller had four.
Overall, Oakley was pleased with his teams’ performance and saw a lot of positives to build off of.
“If we can compete like we did tonight, I think we are going to have a lot of wins this year,” he said. “It just prepares us for later on. I really think our attitudes and our mindset were in the right place tonight. Our focus — we were prepared to play tonight.”
Southmont hosts Clinton Central on Saturday at 1:30 p.m.