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Chargers suffer season opening loss vs Wolves

The North Montgomery girls basketball team returned to action on Saturday for a season-opening matchup against Parke Heritage. The Chargers graduated four seniors last year and return just three on a youthful 2022-23 squad.

“We’ve been trying to figure out who we are,” Head Coach Ryan Nuppnau said of the team’s dynamic. “Figuring out our roles and where players fit in. We were blessed that those four seniors from last years had three years of playing experience. You lose a lot in that. And now we’re right back in the same boat, in that we have a young team where we need to figure some things out. We’ve got some time to do that, and once we figure it out, we’ll be just fine.”

North Montgomery’s Piper Ramey opened the scoring with a free throw, but Parke Heritage quickly captured the lead and never looked back. The Wolves went on a 15-0 run before the Chargers could respond on more free throws from Ramey. Parke Heritage opted for a fierce press defense, forcing multiple North Montgomery turnovers in the first half. The Chargers saw their first non-free throw basket at the 1:07 mark in the second quarter, as Macee Norman scored from two in a 27-8 ball game. At the end of the first half, the scoreboard read all Wolves, 33-11.

“It’s always nice to play against another good team like that,” Nuppnau said. “They’re a solid team. Very athletic. They’ve got good size and they’re quick. They can shoot it from the outside. It’s a good first game for us to be able to dissect and learn from to see what adjustments we need to make.”

Much of Parke Heritage’s offense centered around sophomore Emma Simpson, who took control of the game to start the second half. The Wolves pushed the lead to 51-15, in which Simpson either scored or assisted on each possession to that point in the half. She finished with 26 points on the day.

Ramey led the way for North Montgomery with nine points. She also played a big effort down low rebounding and on defense. Maely Gaskin was the second effort for the chargers, finishing with four points, including a buzzer-beating three to end the first half. However, the effort wasn’t enough for North Montgomery, as Parke Heritage was just too much to overcome. The Wolves downed the Chargers 63-18 in the first game of the year for each team.

“We shot from the free throw line very well today,” Nuppnau said of his team’s strengths. “That was huge for us. We were able to get them in foul trouble early on and get some points that way. Piper [Ramey] stepping up. She was the leader, the quarterback on the court for us. And that’s what we need to figure out; how to utilize her but also how to have the other girls play around her. We can take advantage of some of the attention she’s going to get. I was happy with her. I was happy with our freshman as well. It’s a lot to ask multiple freshman to go out there and play, but they played well. Once we figure things out, I think we’ll be okay.”

North Montgomery (0-1) travels to Bethesda Christian in what will be the season opener for the Patriots. The two teams take the court at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday.

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