The Husky girls hosted Vermillion Jan. 19 and stayed within striking range, but the Tanager press took its toll and EPJ lost 31-57.

The Huskies played a hustling defense, diving for loose balls and fighting for rebounds, but they played tentative on offense. Head coach Adam Timmins implored his girls to “just take it down” against the press, but they kept stalling in the backcourt. All those EPJ turnovers, 25 in the game, meant Vermillion had a lot of fast-break layups.

EPJ kept trying to work the ball inside, but the Tanagers clogged the lane and either batted the ball away or took charges. The Huskies started out hot from long range, but the pressure took its toll there, too.

Nora Kastning led the Huskies with 9 points and 9 rebounds. Maddie Hammitt had 2 assists and 2 steals. Josie Curry and Addison Stabe also had 2 assists each.

The girls showed a marked improvement in their free throw shooting, hitting 60 percent in the game. They still struggled from the field, shooting just under 28 percent.

The girls started off on the right foot against Akron-Westfield Jan. 21 in Akron.

They matched the Westerner press play for play at first, but Akron-Westfield stepped up their pressure and started picking off Husky passes. The Westerners broke it open towards the end of the first quarter and just built on their lead from there.

See full story in this week’s Leader-Courier.