INDIANAPOLIS — The Anderson Indians are wasting no time putting their own feet to the fire.
For the second time in the opening week, Anderson fell on the road to a team with high postseason aspirations, this time dropping a 91-57 decision at Lawrence North on Saturday afternoon.
The Wildcats improved to 2-0, while the Indians — who lost at Pike earlier in the week — are now 0-2.
“Yes, we’ve got a tough schedule, but that’s only going to prepare us for the mid and late part of the season,” Anderson coach Shannon Cleckley said. “That’s what we have to see, the big picture. We want to get better each time, and even from the first game to the second game I saw improvement.”
Lawrence North, 19-5 a year ago, had four players score in double figures, led by sophomore Jayla Smith with 22 points and a fifth player, junior Lauren Gunn, grab 15 rebounds and hand out five assists. The scoring bursts to open the first and second quarters built a substantial halftime advantage.
The Indians fell behind 15-2 to open the game before trailing 25-12 at the end of the first quarter. But the Wildcats then started the second quarter on a 16-2 run and took a 49-23 lead into the locker room.
“We came out a little shell shocked. They jumped on us and rattled us early,” Cleckley said. “Once we calmed down and realized we can play, that started to sink in. We’ve got to do it for four quarters. (Lawrence North) is a top-level team, and we’re trying to get to that point. We’re not over the hump yet, but (there are) a lot of positives.”
Part of the problem early for Anderson was the absence of sophomore forward Tyra Ford. The leading returning scorer for the Indians turned an ankle in the first quarter and did not return in the first half.
She did start the second half and opened the scoring with a 3-point shot, showing no ill effects of the ankle and scoring 18 of her team-high 20 points in the second half — including three triples.
“One of our go-tos goes out, doesn’t even play in the second quarter, so now we have to adjust,” Cleckley said. “That’s what we’ve got to do, other people have to step up in new roles. But once she got in there, straight beast, and that’s what we expect from her.”
Ford and senior Staisha Hamilton, who added 17 points and four assists, each scored five points during a 10-2 run to close out the third quarter for the Tribe.
Junior Erin Martin chipped in eight points and four assists for Anderson while sophomore Karlee Goodwin led the Indians with seven rebounds.
In addition to Smith, junior Katie Davidson scored 18 for the Wildcats while juniors Kristian Young and Justis Odom added 16 and 10 points respectively.
The Indians will finally get an opportunity to play at home when they host Fishers on Wednesday for a 7:30 p.m. tip.