TRAVERSE CITY — Traverse City Central’s girls basketball season tipped off Tuesday with a 69-32 loss to Midland.
And new head coach Heather Simpson says that’s not the worst thing.
“What I took from that is we have a team full of high-character kids,” Simpson said. “We’re going to have a great season. We really are. We’ve been working hard and we’re changing the way we do things. I think it was evident with our defense and not giving up. Midland is a good team. Jess Walter, she’s a fantastic player. But, at the same time, we’re OK with that. The effort was there. We missed some key shots — and those will fall. I can’t ask for a better effort from our kids.”
Midland — which was 13-8 last year and has much of its team back along with an influx of quality freshmen to bolster Indiana-bound Jessica Walter — looks like a team that could be a Class A power this season.
The Chemics led 18-4 late in the first quarter and never looked back. That didn’t deter Simpson.
“It was a good start,” Simpson said. “With the score, people will probably wonder, ‘What is she talking about?’ But for us, we accomplished our goals — and that was to compete, to work hard and have a good team attitude. We’re going to be OK.”
Central scored six straight points to pull within 25-14 early in the second quarter, but Midland pulled away from there, putting on an 11-0 spurt as its defense applied heavy pressure.
“All I ask my kids is to give their heart out there and to dive for loose balls,” Simpson said. “And to still do that when you’re down by 40, says a lot. It really does. When you can do it when you’re down 40, it’s going to be pretty easy to do it when you’re down by two or up by six.”