Tuesday's home opener for the Villa Rica High School girls' basketball team was nothing short of total domination — and first-year head coach Tammy Norred feels her team can still play much better.
The Lady Wildcats had visiting Chapel Hill under control for the entirety of the contest, throttling the Lady Panthers in a 52-16 rout.
VR (2-0) started imposing its will on the visiting Lady Panthers right from the opening tip when a Tee Windom layup and an Emmy Parham trey within the first 15 seconds of action gave it a sudden 5-0 lead. The Lady Cats starting five stayed aggressive on both sides of the court, ending the first period with a 17-3 advantage.
The second quarter brought even more domination for the home team as forward Deasia Merrill started to make her presence felt. Rated No. 49 in the ESPN 'Hoop Gurlz' recruiting rankings during the offseason, the junior standout dominated inside the paint to help her team carry a 30-10 advantage into the locker room. Merrill finished the contest with 16 points, 12 rebounds and three assists and was notably all over the court in the winning effort.
"I think she did a great job moving and getting those rebounds," Norred said. "There was a time that she was on the left side of the goal and came all the way down to the right side to get the rebound and that's huge to have a player that does that."
Coming out of the locker room, the Lady Cats kept their foot down defensively, completely shutting out Chapel Hill for the entirety of the quarter. Meanwhile on the offensive end, sophomore Aliyah Hindsman provided a spark of energy off the bench. The underclassman guard finished the game 10 points, four rebounds and three steals, an effort Norred was pleased to see early in the year.
"She's good enough to be a starter," Norred said of Hindsman. "It's a good problem to have when you're bringing someone like her in as your six man. She's quick, puts a lot of pressure on the ball and does a really good job at running balls down in transition."
Up 49-10 after three, Norred emptied her bench in the shortened fourth quarter as VR cruised to the 36-point win.
Although recording victory No. 2 of the young season was nice, the head coach didn't want her team to be complacent with just the final score. There were plenty of aspects of the game that she emphasized needs to be cleaned up moving forward.
"I feel like we didn't shoot the ball really well," Norred said. "The effort was there and defensively we held them to only three baskets in the second half. But my expectations of us are a little bit higher than that. We have to do a better job of shooting."
The Lady Cats will next be in action this Friday when they open Region 7-AAAAA play at East Paulding in a 6 p.m. tip.