BOONVILLE - Tuesday night’s Lady Rams’ season opener against Surry Central had a middle school feel to it.
No, the game was not played down the road at Starmount Middle. But instead, seven players from the dominant middle school squad the past two years were suited up for the varsity Rams to open the 2012-13 season.
Morgan Randleman, Darion Dobson, Miracle Walters, Sabrina Beatriz, Alisha Baity, Ashley Johnson and Bralyn Hampton - who only lost one game together during their two-year run in middle school - joined Guilford College prospect Heaven Walters, a varsity role-player from last year in Whitney Pardue and senior newcomer Emily Pack at the varsity level.
The revamped Rams, coached by first-year skipper Doug Chilton, fell behind early to an experienced Surry Central squad and dropped their opener 83-49 Tuesday night.
“It tells us a lot of what we have to come back and work on,” Chilton said. “We knew going in that we were very young and very inexperienced and that we were going to make a lot of mistakes in not knowing how to handle situations. We now know what to come work on a little harder.”
Chilton pointed to defense and rebounding, specifically.
“Defense. If you give up 83 points, you better work on defense,” he said, laughing. “But a lot of that was giving up offensive rebounds. We’ve been working on blocking out and rebounding, but young kids don’t know just how physical they need to be to get position and push people around to keep the other team from getting the rebound. That’s a big part.”
Heaven Walters, who signed her letter of intent to play for Guilford earlier this month, scored the opening points of the game on a layup following a steal. But from then on, it was all Surry Central.
The Lady Golden Eagles reeled off 11-straight points and grabbed a 21-8 lead after one quarter of play. That lead grew out to 45-18 at the halftime horn.
Starmount settled its nerves at halftime and came out strong in the second half.
Miracle Walters drilled a three to open the third quarter as the Lady Rams began knocking down shots, eventually out-scoring Central 19-18 in the frame, achieving one of Chilton’s silver-lining goals.
“I told the kids at halftime that what we wanted to do was come out and out-score them in a quarter. Take it one quarter at a time. And we outscored them 19-18 in the third quarter,” he explained.
With the game was out of reach, the Lady Rams racked up 31 points in the second half alone, which Chilton took as a big positive note from the game.
“We scored 31 points in the second half and if you put two halves like that together, that’s 62 points. If you upgrade your defense and you start blocking out, you start winning ballgames,” he said. “We just have to be very patient with them and let them grow and learn a little bit. We know we’re going to take our lumps. But that aspect, that we came out and scored 31 points in the second half, is real positive for us.”
Heaven Walters led the way for the Rams, scoring 19 points on the night, while Hampton added 11. Miracle Walters pitched in with seven points with Pardue tacking on five.
“I think Heaven started being a leader tonight,” Chilton said. “She wasn’t real sure what she was supposed to do. I gave her a lot of freedom on the court of running set plays and she started to do that and started to get everybody involved at different times. And then she took over a few times and took it hard to the basket and fouled. She’s going to have to be the one to be the leader.”
Starmount returns to the court next week with back-to-back games against West Wilkes and North Surry on Tuesday and Wednesday in Boonville.
Reach Matthew Gorry at 835-1513 or firstname.lastname@example.org.