By RICH KELLY
For the Star Beacon
Paying their first Northeastern Athletic Conference visit to Orwell to face Grand Valley, the Windham Bombers rode the strength hot shooting coupled with a smothering defense in knocking off the Mustangs, 61-46.
Windham outscored the Mustangs, 13-2, in the third period. Grand Valley was just 1 of 14 from the field during the quarter.
“We sure didn’t make a lot of baskets tonight,” Grand Valley coach Kim Triskett said. “How many did we have in that third period, one or two?
“Shooting like that will deflate anybody.”
The first Windham run came at the start of the game. It was a 13-2 spurt over the first 5:27 and was sparked by seven points from Brittany Knight — all from the inside.
The Mustangs (2-1, 0-1) fought back to take a brief 28-26 lead late in the second quarter on a Jessica Vormelker 3-pointer, but after Britney Collins tied the game at 28-28, Jessica Isler scored two straight times down the floor to spark a run that closed out the third period with the Bombers leading, 48-30.
Windham nailed 25 of its 51 shots (49 percent) while Grand Valley was just 16 of 51 (31.3 percent). Add in a 33-19 rebounding edge for Windham and there were not many second-chance points for the Mustangs.
Windham had a 1-2 punch inside all night as Knight led the way with 20 points, aided by 14 from Dari Heller, who also snared 12 rebounds. Isler added 13 points, and Lexi Knight tallied 10.
When told of his team’s shooting effort, his smile lit up the gymnasium.
“I’ll take that every time out,” Windham coach Greg Isler said. “Other than the one big run they had in the second period that got them back in the game, I thought we did some very good things defensively. We knew that (Vorkmelker) is a really good player from our scouting efforts, so our emphasis was to get the ball inside as much as we could.
“I think the keys may have been that run at the end of the first half and then again at the start of the third period.”
Isler was on the money and the Mustangs just didn’t have a response to close the count until Alexis Cassesa tallied 7 of her 10 points in the last 3 minutes to cut into a 61-39 difference.
“I don’t think we did too bad a job defensively tonight overall,” Triskett said. “We paid a lot of attention to Dari because we scouted them and she is a super player, but (Brittany Knight) wasn’t on our radar and she had a great game.”
Vormelker had a decent night, scoring 18 points, and Chris Futty tallied 10.
Kelly is a freelance writer from Jefferson.