If it weren’t for Venice guard Miranda Hoffer scoring 27 points, Tuesday night’s game against North Port could have gotten out of hand quickly.
However, despite Hoffer’s big night, Bobcats guard Emani Jefferson turned in perhaps an even better performance.
The Lady Indians (0-3) fell behind early and couldn’t fight back into the game, losing to the Bobcats, 62-39, at the TeePee.
“When you have to play catch up against a veteran team like that with the seniors they have, you’re in a hole in a hurry. We didn’t execute early. We told them blocking out was the key, and we didn’t do that early.”
Hoffer scored all five first-quarter points for Venice as her team dug itself into an 18-5 hole heading into the second quarter.
The second quarter was much of the same for Venice, as it took until 2:20 remaining before halftime until someone other than Hoffer made a shot.
For North Port, Jefferson led the way once again.
With 24 points, 11 rebounds and four steals, Jefferson stole the show on Tuesday night and made it difficult on the Indians’ defense.
“Jefferson is Jefferson. She’s gonna get her points, and she’s very selfless,” North Port coach Dale Huffman said. “She had a double-double the other day where she scored 30 points and had 10 assists. She can play with anybody, it doesn’t matter who we play.”
By the time halftime came around, Jefferson had tied the entire Venice team with 18 points scored, and North Port was holding on to a 35-18 lead.
Though Venice came out of the gates hot with seven quick points, four points by North Port guard Katelynn Hall and a 3-pointer by Janae Dennard wiped away any progress made by the Indians. Jefferson scored six points soon thereafter and North Port led by 19 points heading into the final quarter.
While Hoffer kept her team in it with nine fourth-quarter points, it was far too late for Venice to make much of a dent in the North Port lead.
To make matters worse, Indians starting point guard Ellie DiGiacomo limped off the court with a left knee injury midway through the fourth quarter and didn’t return.
As far as Holloway and the Indians are concerned, they’re taking the loss as a learning lesson in a long season.
“I was proud of them,” Holloway said. “We fought all the way through. We did not give up. We try to learn everyday, we’re trying to improve. No one is going to be nice to us and take it easy on us, so I completely understand.”