Growing pains have pockmarked the Marion Lady Giants’ 2020-2021 season.
A head coaching change prior to the start of the season, together with a roster full of youth and inexperience, the Giants, have resulted in a fair share of struggles, like those on display Tuesday evening in the Giants’ 81-18 loss to the Fort Wayne Wayne Generals.
As a team, the Giants only finished with seven total field goals and struggled to hang on to the basketball throughout the contest, turning the ball over 32 times. Fort Wayne Wayne’s full court press proved troublesome for Marion, and the Generals capitalized on the Giants’ giveaways, scoring a plethora of easy baskets to control the game from the opening tip.
Additionally, the Giants struggled on the boards, giving up 26 offensive rebounds that led to second and third chance opportunities.
“It’s a rebuild,” Marion Head Coach Jerry Freshwater said. “It’s a great group of girls, but we just have to keep working and doing the basic stuff.”
After Fort Wayne Wayne scored the first four points of the game, Marion freshman Talia Alsup knocked down a pair of free throws to make it 4-2, but that was as close as the Giants would get. Marion wouldn’t score again until the first quarter buzzer on a shot from Destiny Davis, but the Generals held a 19-4 advantage – one they would not relinquish.
After collecting just one field goal in the first quarter, the Giants scored just two points in the second quarter, which came in the final minute. The Generals outscored Marion by 23 points, taking a 44-6 lead into halftime.
While the Giants played better in the second half, scoring 12 points, they were unable to slow down the Generals. Fort Wayne Wayne scored 37 points in the second half en route to the 63-point triumph.
Aniah Hill led the Generals with 23 points, while Khalise Collins finished the contest with 22 points and 11 rebounds, six of which came on the offensive glass.
For the Giants, Alsup, Tori Beal, and Jessica Williams each scored four points.
Despite the final score, the Giants did not back down. Even though there were mistakes, the Giants played with heart and with effort, trying to execute on both ends of the floor with each passing possession.
That effort is something that Freshwater hopes to continue to build on going forward.
“[They need to] understand that they can do it and [that they] need to put the effort in to do it,” Freshwater said. That’s the thing that we have been dealing with. Little by little, step by step, [we are] trying to improve. I appreciate these girls that are giving their effort with this team.”
The Giants have potential to be an excellent basketball team down the road. The talent is evident up and down the roster, and each girl has a skill set that can be polished and refined.
It may be rough sledding now, but Freshwater plans to keep working and getting the program back on the right track.
“It’s a process,” Freshwater said. “I knew when [Principal Keith] Burke and [Athletic Director Steve] Moritz spoke with me about this team, it was going to be more of a process. We are going to stick with the process and keep working at the process to get better. That’s the only thing I can do and that’s the only thing I know how to do – keep working and hopefully getting this thing turned back around.”