Lady Knights win opener

Tom Batters

METAMORA -- Richwoods outscored Metamora, 22-3, in the fourth quarter on its way to a 65-40 win over the Redbirds in the season-opening game Tuesday night.

Richwoods coach Todd Hursey, coaching his first game since taking over for John Gross, who was controversially fired last month, said his team was still shaking off some rust in the first half.

"Katie (Murphy) and Mariah (Smith) are not used to playing with some of the new starters we have," he said. "It just took a little time."

Murphy, the team's leading rebounder and second-leading scorer from last year did not start the game.

"I'll just say that was a team issue," Hursey said.

Murphy came in with 4:33 left in the first quarter. She finished with 12 points.

Junior Mariah Smith and sophomore point guard Maggie Cunningham each scored 20 points for the defending state champions.

"In the first half, Maggie dribbled into too many traps," Hursey said. "In the second half, she did a much better job. And, it's great having Mariah out there. She is like another coach on the floor. I sat next to her all summer (when she was sidelined with a wrist injury) and it was like sitting next to another coach. She knows the game so well."

Richwoods led by three points at halftime, but outscored Metamora, 39-17 in the second half.

"Our defense has always been our consitent strength," Hursey said. "Ken (Baker) was an assistant for coach Gross for 16 years. He has taught that defense a lot. He taught it to all our sophomores last year. It will continue to be our strength."

Hursey said he was relieved to get win No. 1 out of the way, but he knows there is a lot of work to do.

"We're going to have a target on our backs every night," he said. "We have so many things to continue to work on. But, if we play hard, we'll win some games. I thought we played really hard, especially in the second half."