YORKTOWN, IND - Coming into Tuesday evening's matchup between Yorktown (3-0) and Winchester (1-3), the Tigers were looking to end a seven-game skid in the series matchup between the two schools. A dominant defensive effort led to the Tigers downing the Falcons 47-16.
Yorktown came out firing on all cylinders. Multiple forced turnovers and an impressive showing from sophomore Lilly Sylvester were the keys early on. The first quarter was all Yorktown as it would end 15-0.
Sylvester played a big part, not only scoring the ball but also halting the Falcons in the paint despite their continued efforts.
“[We wanted] to take out their bigs,” Sylvester said. “The main idea was to shut down their inside game, and I thought as a team we did [well] on our backside help.
Head coach Leigh Barga loved to see the strong defensive effort put forth by the Tigers.
“I love defense,” said Barga. “That’s what I focus on. We try to put pressure on [our opponent] so it’s nice to see that it pays off sometimes.”
The second quarter saw the green and white doubling their score and allowing only 6 points through the entire first half, continuing to stifle the Falcons.
The offense would slow slightly for the Tigers coming out of the locker room as they only put up seven points in the third quarter. It seemed to be Winchesters' last chance to attempt to close the gap, but the Falcons only mustered two points as turnovers would continue to hurt them.
The strong start to the season has helped boost the Tigers’ confidence, who were a little unsure of themselves. Senior point guard Hayley Reece has noticed the improved confidence of her teammates.
“At the beginning of the season our confidence was a little rocky,” Reece said. “I know tonight helped build [our confidence].”
Losing key contributors from last season could have led to a setback for the Tigers. However, the younger players have stepped up big early this season. Yet Barge isn’t surprised about the early production.
“They play a lot of ball,” said Barga. “They’ve always got a ball in their hand, and are always practicing. They’re leaders, they’re not afraid, and they act like they’ve played for four years out here.”
It has been a collective effort to replace that lost production. Different players stepped into different roles that may have been unexpected. Reece found her identity in her defense and her toughness.
“I try to do the dirty work,” Reece said. “The work people don’t notice. I’ll do more on defense and get the most assists I can.”
With a matchup with Alexandria (4-0) on the horizon, the Tigers are not shying away from the challenge that a strong team presents.
“It’s going to be a high-pressure situation,” Sylvester said. “Alexandria is really good, so it’ll be interesting to see how we pick apart their press and build off of this win.”
Yorktown will face off against Alexandria (4-0) on Nov. 16. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m.
Contact David Moore with comments at firstname.lastname@example.org or on X @gingninj63