FULTON, Ill. — The Fulton Steamers could not stop Sydney Mericle of the Riverdale Rams during their first matchup of the girls basketball season. Mericle lit up the Steamers for 31 points Thursday night, leading all scorers as the Rams defeated the Steamers 62-38 in Fulton’s home opener.
Fulton was hampered by inconsistencies all over the court that hurt it in the long run. On offense, the Steamers put up a lot more shots, but they were streaky at best, making a couple of shots in a row before falling into a drought. Their rebounding followed suit. They would miss a shot and grab the rebound but more times than not, put up a weak shot, especially early. As the game progressed, the Steamers went to the free-throw line more often but were inconsistent going 8-for-15 as a team.
The players didn’t lack confidence on the court, even though they were battling their own inconsistencies.
“We were in more control and more confident too, I think, out there. We just played a lot smarter than we did earlier (in the week) at Erie,” Fulton senior Rachael Beiermann said.
The Steamers were not afraid to take the shot if it was open, or go up to the basket from the post, they just couldn’t finish off the shots.
“I knew once the ball got low corner and it was either Averi (Leitzen) or Camerin (Huizenga) that had the ball, as long as I sealed the player, I knew I had it because she was a shorter player than I was and as long as I had that bank shot I was fine.” Fulton junior Kerrigan Enloe said about her confidence level posting up against Riverdale.
In the first half, Riverdale slowly got out to a comfortable lead as Mericle began to heat up. The Steamers were unable to find a way to stop her and the rest of the Rams, committing too many fouls (24) that hampered their fourth-quarter effort.