TERRYVILLE - Terryville girls basketball coach Tom Morgan knew that it was going to take his players some time to get acclimated to each other on the floor this season.
In their season opener against Shepaug, the rusty play and chemistry showed on the floor as the Kangaroos lost 44-36.
It was a bad first half that hurt most.
Terryville scored just 12 points in the half and struggled shooting from the field.
“I think in the first half we shot something like 12 percent,” Morgan said. It’s going to be growing pains. Everybody knows it. It’s just a question of getting better as the season goes on.”
The second half was a different story, as the Kangaroos went back and forth with Shepaug.
The Spartans were only able to outscore Terryville 26-24 during the final 16 minutes of play.
Better rhythm offensively was a big reason behind the turnaround.
Kangaroos go-to player McKenzie Huria started to take charge. She finished the game with 12 points while facing the majority of the Spartans’ defensive attention.
Helping her get into a groove helped the offensive unit as a whole, as the Kangaroos were moving the ball around the floor better and getting more open looks.
“We had a better tempo in the second half,” Morgan said. “First half we were just slow and nobody was really moving. In the second half we actually got moving and made their defense move their feet, so that was good.”
While using its height is something that Terryville is looking to do this year, with a pair of players over six feet tall in Alana Girch and Lauren Jacobs, that didn’t work out against Shepaug, as the duo struggled to finish in the paint.
Girch showed her ability to take jump shots, hitting four shots from the floor while finishing with nine points in the contest.
“Alana is a pretty good shooter, but she doesn’t always take the shot when she has it,” Morgan said.
Jacobs didn’t see as much success, often having open looks but not converting.
“And Lauren, we have to work on her shot, but nobody in the league could stop Lauren if she really took it inside strong,” Morgan said. “She’s a strong girl and we just need to get it into her mind that we want her to shoot.”
The defensive effort from Terryville was stronger and Jacobs played aggressive in the paint, finishing with multiple blocks.
“I thought our zone defense wasn’t bad,” Huria said. “We need to work on man-to-man defense.”
While there were positives and negatives for the Kangaroos, as a group they know there’s a lot of work ahead for them in order to sustain any success this season.
“I feel like we can definitely improve in most areas,” Amy Roqi said. “Rebounding, we should have gotten a lot more. Shooting-wise, too, we should have done better.”