GLENS FALLS — All Glens Falls girls basketball coach Mark Girard wanted to do was get the first game out of the way.
Which is a common cliche in sports, but it held true for an Indians team that ended the regular season 8-12 and earned the eighth seed in the Class B bracket of the Section II Girls Basketball Tournament.
As back-to-back defending Section II champions, Glens Falls needed one win to build some momentum and hopefully find its old form.
The Indians won their opening-round game against Ichabod Crane 56-36 at Glens Falls High School. Up next for Glens Falls is a quarterfinal at top-seeded Tamarac on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
Players from years past are not coming back, but maybe the energy and magic it takes to make a playoff run can.
“We are the underdogs now, but we are also the defending champions,” Girard said. “People want to beat the defending champions.”
Ichabod Crane came to do just that, but fell short as the Riders never led after the first quarter.
Every time Ichabod Crane came within striking range, the Indians pushed their lead back to double digits.
Whether it was a 3-pointer from Anna Bayle, like the one she hit as time expired in the third quarter, or a drive to the bucket by Felicity Wiliams, who finished with 13 points, Glens Falls never let up.
“Tonight (Felicity) finally just said she was going to make it happen,” Girard said. “She did a good job with that. Anna made a couple big shots, too.”
Bayle led the Indians with 15 points, including three 3-pointers.
Williams was able to get to the basket most of the night as she finished with five total field goals, four of which came inside the paint.
Girard said Glens Falls did a good job controlling the ball despite the Riders continued ball pressure.
“We did not turn the ball over in crazy situations,” he said. We’ve been working on that because we had been turning the ball over.”
At the top, Glens Falls does not look like it did in years past, but the Indians understand that and play to their strengths by moving the ball, making the easy play and locking in at all times.
“In the past, we could get away with not getting a loose ball,” Girard said. “But we cannot do that anymore. So it has to be 32 minutes of having every loose ball come our way and having that grit.”
Though Glens Falls are underdogs against No. 1 Tamarac, the Indians are ready because next time they step on the court, they will still be the defending Section II Class B champions.
“Hopefully this gives us the confidence to know we are close,” Girard said.