The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

January 29, 2013

Mustangs maul Braves

Vormelker’s near-triple-double leads Grand Valley past Badger

For the Star Beacon

ORWELL — Grand Valley sophomore guard Jessica Vormelker didn’t have the best of pregame warmups. For a reason even she might have a hard time explaining, it didn’t carry over into the Mustangs’ 75-48 victory over Badger.

Vormelker finished an assist shy of a triple double with 22 points, 10 rebounds and 9 assists.

“I had no idea (I was close to the triple double),” Vormelker said. “I could see (on the scoreboard) I had quite a few points, so I was just trying to distribute the ball to my teammates as much as possible.

“It’s funny. Before the game, I wasn’t hitting anything. Something just clicked. I just started to get that touch.”

Vormelker wasn’t the only one to get the touch. Once Vormelker found her range, the rest of Mustangs were quick to follow.

“Success breeds success,” Grand Valley coach Kim Triskett said. “That’s true no matter what you’re doing.”

A minute into the second period, Vormelker hit the first of her four 3-pointers to put Grand Valley (13-6, 4-6 in Northeastern Athletic Conference) up eight, 22-14. Not quite a minute and a half later, she buried her second.

It was after the first of the two triples Vormelker subtly let Triskett know it was her night.

“She hit that three from a little distance out and she was dead on,” Triskett said. “My only thought was, ‘does it have the distance?’ When it went in, she gave me a look and I knew she felt good about her rhythm.”

“After I hit that first 3 — the girl guarding me was just about smelling my armpits — I got around her and just felt something. Something clicked.”

The Mustangs were right on her heels. The result was a 26 of 54 (48.1 percent) shooting night for the group.

“Once Jessica got going, the others fed off that. Their confidence was high,” Badger coach Dusty Karr said. “We tried to get (the points) back right away.

“The thing, too, was they were hitting shots with a hand in their face. It wasn’t like we were lost on defense. Our defense wasn’t really that bad.”

“I could tell (the rest of the girls) were playing with a lot of confidence,” Vormelker said. “They were playing good themselves. When they were open, Abby, Chris and K.P. (Preske) were hitting their shots.”

If Grand Valley felt like it couldn’t miss, the Braves (5-14, 2-8) might have felt as if they couldn’t buy a bucket.

“That’s been a season-long problem for us,” Karr said. “Our shooting percentage has been low all year. It’s hard not to be frustrated when the ball doesn’t go through the hoop.”

The Mustangs held Badger to a 26.6 percent (17 of 64) shooting night.

Chris Futty was the beneficiary of a good many assists from Vormelker and finished with 17 points for Grand Valley.

“That’s what we want within the offense,” Triskett said. “They were running a box-and-one. We want the scorers to score, but when they’re not open, the others have to produce.

“Chris and (Vormelker) hooked up for about half of Jess’ assists. Chris did a nice job getting open and finishing her shots.”  

Kayla Sellitto cam off the bench to add 12 points for the Mustangs and Kelly Preske turned in a six-point, nine-rebound, four-steal night.

Grand Valley was 17 of 31 (54.8 percent) from the field in the second and third periods in scoring 46 points over those 16 minutes to take a 17-14 game after the first quarter to 63-31 to start the fourth.

Brandi Nitch scored 15 points and Taylor Kramar added 13 more Badger.  

Ettinger is a freelance writer from Ashtabula.