Tom Jones knew that it would be a rebuilding of the Titusville Rockets girls basketball program when he accepted the head coaching position in November. After Monday’s season-opening 57-8 non-region loss at the Launch Pad to the visiting Union City Bears, Jones admitted that his team had some work to do.
“We brought nine girls and had a lot of young girls playing,” Jones said. “We need to work on a lot of things, but we are just going to focus on a few. Those few things are bringing more intensity and aggressiveness and playing through our fatigue. It’s the first time any of these girls started a varsity game. That’s where we are at.”
Bears senior guard Eliza Reynolds erupted for a game-high 18 points, while freshman guard Cathryn Reynolds added 16 points off the bench. Lucy Higley and Sophia Messenger chipped in seven and six points, respectively, for Union City, who improved to 2-0 on the season.
Titusville wasn’t able to muster up much offense, as the Bears defense clamped down and forced 44 turnovers. Hannah Peterson tallied four points in her varsity debut to pace the Rockets (0-1). Lilly Tucker added three and Brooke Anthony contributed a free throw to round out the scoring.
Both teams were cold out of the gate, as neither sideline was able to sink a shot until the 2:02 mark in the opening period. Union City made two free throws compared to Titusville’s one before Eliza Reynolds converted a steal into a lay-up for the game’s first bucket.
The Rocket defense kept them in the game, as the Brown and Gold only trailed 10-1 heading into the second quarter. However, Union City followed with its best frame of the contest, a 26-3 period that was in large part due to points off of turnovers caused by the Bears’ trap defense.
“In the second quarter, we had problems with it,” Jones said. “We did not make adjustments when they dropped into a half-court press. They ran a diamond, 1-2-1-1 from half-court, and we weren’t thinking fast enough.”
The Bears were able to trap the Rocket guards around the perimeter with a double-team, and then convert some of the turnovers into transition buckets. Unfortunately for the 40-50 home fans in attendance, the Rockets were unable to establish any rhythm offensively.
Titusville will have a few days to prep for their next contest, as Thursday’s Region 4 opener at Lakeview has been postponed until Saturday, Jan. 23.
The Rockets’ next matchup will be on Saturday, Jan. 16 at home against the Franklin Knights. The JV will tip off at 1 p.m.
“We have a very young team,” Jones said. “We played a lot of freshmen and sophomores. Normally those are for JV games, but that’s just not the path we have this year. We’re going to try to improve each game and each practice, and see where we’re at.”