Byron girls go 1-1 against Winona schools
After losing three of their first four games, the Byron girls’ basketball team had won three of their last four entering the Lewiston Auto Holiday Classic and they made it four wins in their last five by beating Winona Senior High 74-50 on Saturday, Dec. 28.
Head Coach Jeremy Baumbach said his offense started to click once they were able to get a few shots to fall.
“Outside of the start of the game we played well. We found ourselves down 14-2 to start the game; we just couldn't knock shots down. Once they started going down for us it opened things up on the inside and when they doubled down we found the open players,” he said.
On the other side of the ball, he said, “Playing a combination of man/zone help keep the Winhawks off-balance.”
Thanks to surging offense and strong defense, the Bears held a 35-26 lead at halftime.
During halftime, Baumbach wanted the Bears, “to keep our defensive pressure up in the half court, contesting all shots.”
However, it was Byron’s offense that was noticeable in a good way to start the second half.
“The second half picked up where the first half left off. Our ball movement and getting our shooters open or cutting to the rim looked good in the second half,” he said.
He was also happy with how his defense played in the second half.
“We made some adjustments in the rotation of our zone to help cover up the overload. It was great to see the kids executing things differently on the fly when that specific rotation wasn't worked on much,” he said.
With their offense and defense humming, the Bears ran away with the game and eventually won 74-50 to make it four wins in their last five games.
Baumbach thinks the wins are a result of more time and confidence in their system.
“I believe the girls are feeling more comfortable/confident in a new system offensively and defensively. Many things we really didn't get to work on until November,” he said. “As we continue our confidence will grow as we take one game at a time. Our motto would be to respect all but fear none.”
While they’re starting to see more wins, the Bears are still growing in this system and he said there are a few defensive areas that they can keep improving on.
“We really want to pride ourselves on the defensive side of the ball. We must finish possessions with a rebound and expend our energy to the max defensively. Hard work is a mindset as we continue to push each other on a daily basis,” he said.
Even though the wins are starting to come, the Bears are still learning a new defensive system and that lack of time in the system was made apparent when the Winona Cotter Ramblers scored 83 points in an 83-71 win over the Bears on Monday, Dec. 30.
The Ramblers controlled the first half as their offense scored 42 points and their defense held Byron to just 19 points.
Byron rallied in the second half with the help of Paige Coleman who led the Bears with 24 points and Courtney Connelly who added 18 points, but the Ramblers had too much offense as four scorers recorded at least 13 points.
The 71-83 loss drops Byron’s record to 5-5.
The Bears have a tough test this Thursday when they travel to Rochester to take on the Lourdes Eagles who are the second ranked team in Class AA.
Byron’s next home game is against another Rochester team, Century, who they play at 7:15 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 14.