A cold start on Friday proved to be too tough a hole to climb out of for the Chi-Hi girls basketball team in a 67-42 nonconference defeat to D.C. Everest at Chi-Hi.
D.C. Everest (1-0) scored the first 15 points of the game, racing out to an early lead before four-and-a-half minutes passed in the contest.
“You preach fast starts, you don’t think that’s what it’s going to be," D.C. Everest coach Koleman Schilling said. "I was excited that’s what it was. It definitely helped us, put us in a position where we put the pressure on them and took it off ourselves.”
Kiara Hammond scored four of her game-high 26 points during the opening stretch in which the Cardinals called two timeouts to try to help calm the run before getting on the board five minutes into the game with a basket by Hanna Salter off a pass from Brooklyn Sandvig.
The Cardinals (0-1) also started slowly in Tuesday's season opener at Holmen, falling behind by double digits in the first half before cutting the deficit to two in the closing moments of a 51-47 loss.
“I think we’re turning it over way too much early in the game," Chi-Hi coach Becca Bestul said. "Our defense is just not as aggressive and as smart (and) disciplined as it needs to be early in the game. Bottom line for us in this game was our rebounding. Our boarding tonight was horrible. There was way too many defensive boards that got tipped around that they got, they got the O board and we didn’t get the D board and way too many times we should’ve finished on the offensive end but the defensive end really hurt us.”
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Chi-Hi was able to get the gap down to single digits at 18-10 after a three-pointer from Ava Reuter at the 10:42 mark and again at 20-12 following free throws from Maddy Bauer at 10:04. The Evergreens regained their double-digit lead and while the Cardinals hung around well into the second half, D.C. Everest went on an 18-5 run to help pull away to victory.
Reuter led the Cardinals with 15 points including all three of the team's three-pointers. The junior also scored 15 points in Tuesday's loss to the Vikings.
“She took what we told her last year and we told her she needs to be a better shooter and she needs to be handle the ball and she took and did that this summer," Bestul said. "She’s shooting well right now at times. The rest of us, we just need to find our identity and we’re not there yet. The turnovers hurt us.”
Junior Ally Richardson scored seven points off the bench and Salter added six for Chi-Hi.
Braelyn Beiler scored 14 points including a trio of three pointers and Kennedy Stowell had 10 points for the Evergreens.
Chi-Hi hosts another nonconference contest on Tuesday when Superior comes to town with a week break to follow before starting Big Rivers play at Rice Lake on Nov. 30.
“Superior is coming in here on Tuesday. It would be really nice to get a nonconference win early in the season under our belt before we start conference play," Bestul said. "We’ve got one practice to clean things up and go from there.”