With an 0-6 record, the Venice girls basketball team is looking for answers early in the season.

The Indians have lost their first six games this season and went into Thursday’s game against the visiting Manatee Hurricanes down starters Kirstin Dooling and Ellie DiGiacomo.

With a lineup stocked with sophomores, the young Indians forced overtime before losing to Manatee, 31-26.

“This was the kind of game we were expecting,” Indians coach Joel Holloway said. “The last three times we played them it was a difference of three, four and five points. We just didn’t win this time.”

Down two starters, the Indians relied on a sophomore-filled lineup with players earning their first varsity experience this season. Along with seniors Miranda Hoffer and Gabby LaRock, sophomores Kiley Poole, Olivia Sleight, Brook DuBay and Rachel Weekes picked up the slack for the Indians’ injured players.

“We fell behind early, but our girls fought all the way back,” Holloway said.

The Indians opened with an 8-5 lead behind four points from Hoffer as the teams had trouble finding scoring opportunities in the first quarter.

In the second quarter, the Indians kept the Canes at bay as they maintained their three-point edge throughout the quarter. Hurricanes guard Ophelia Lodge led a late charge to close out the half, scoring four straight points and giving Manatee a 14-13 lead.

Manatee opened the third quarter with baskets from Lodge and Kellie O’Dell and kept the Indians off the board for the entire quarter. Holloway called a timeout, and Venice responded with six straight points to take the lead back, 19-18, before a Grace Jerome layup put the Hurricanes ahead, 20-19, going into the final quarter.

The teams couldn’t find the net in the fourth quarter before the Hurricanes opened a 25-21 lead. With 1:02 left in the contest, Poole took advantage of a late Manatee foul to tie the game at 25-25 on a free throw.

Neither team could score in the final minute, sending the game into overtime.

In the extra period the Hurricanes got an opening layup from Summer Prescott and never looked back on their way to a five-point win.

“Even though we lost, I’m proud of the way our girls played tonight,” Holloway said. “When you have a young team you need confidence and this game helps build confidence.”

Sleight led the Indians with eight points while Poole added seven points, four rebounds, two assists and two steals.

Hoffer scored six points, grabbed four rebounds, had two assists and two steals before fouling out with five minutes left in the fourth. Brook DuBay led the Indians with 11 rebounds.

The Indians travel to Palmetto to face the Tigers on Wednesday.

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