By Corey Elliott
DANVILLE — It was obvious from the opening tip of Saturday night’s girls’ basketball game, Indianapolis Northwest (1-6) came to play.
Unfortunately, for the Pioneers, Danville (2-2) came to win and that’s exactly what Meghan Gerdts and the Warriors did with a convincing 62-42 victory.
For a sophomore, varsity basketball can be an awfully big stage. For Gerdts, it was an opportunity to build her confidence and gain the trust of her teammates and coaches. She played 27 minutes in Saturday’s contest and scored 20 points.
“I definitely had more confidence in myself tonight,” Gerdts said. “I’ve never done that before. I’m really proud of myself.”
Danville coach Terry Hammons said he was pleased with Gerdts’ play.
“She was all over the floor,” he said. “A lot of what she was getting was a result of being in a good position on defense and she capitalized on offense. When you work at it and you prepare and that opportunity is there, you want to knock it down.”
Despite the dominating performance from Gerdts, the Warriors found themselves in a battle early on. Danville led by two at the end of the first quarter and by eight at halftime, 29-21.
In the first half, the Warriors struggled from the charity stripe by shooting 38.5 percent.
“We could have hit some more free throws,” Hammons said. “We missed way too many free throws tonight. But the opportunity presented itself so the next time we’re going to be knocking those free throws down.”
The second half was a different story as Danville shot 70 percent on their free throws. The defense also showed up as the Warriors scored 22 points off turnovers.
It was a quality win against a team that Danville might see later in the season.
“It was a non-conference game, but it is a sectional opponent for us,” Hammons said. “That’s the reason why we’re playing them. We have to get used to that.”
It was ultimately a game of runs for Danville that led them to victory.
Five times the Warriors went on scoring runs (8-0, 6-0, 7-0, 5-0 and 8-0) that put the Pioneers away. Danville’s bench was also able to help Gerdts pour it on Northwest, outscoring the Pioneers’ bench, 23-7.
The Warriors also outrebounded Indianapolis Northwest 42-29, which was the foundation of coach Hammons’ game plan of rebounding and blocking out.
“There’s no doubt they had a size advantage and our focus and preparation revolved around one thing,” Hammons said. “We thought we did a really good job blocking out and that paid off big dividends.”