WINDHAM — Three years ago, the Noble High girls’ basketball team was coming off a 1-17 season, which was another in a long line of lousy seasons.

In walked new coach Matt Reid.

“He’s just a really good coach,” said guard Raegan Kelly, now a senior. “He’s really pushed us to be the best we can be.”

Just look at the Knights now. With a 68-57 win Friday night over Windham, Noble ran its record to 5-0.

Windham (2-3) stayed close with 32 points from Hannah Talon. Noble was paced by senior Amy Fleming’s 27 points. Kelly and freshman Hannah Drew (four 3-pointers) each scored 15.

“We have a really strong team,” Fleming said.

Those would have been strange words coming from a Knights player before Reid’s arrival. Noble was 9-117 in the seven previous seasons. In Reid’s first season, 2017-18, Noble went 4-14 – more wins than the previous four years combined. Last year, the Knights were 10-9 and reached the Class AA South semifinals.

Now, an unbeaten start.

“We have a pretty tight-knit group,” Reid said. “To win in the league, you have to have skill and talent, but our team chemistry has (also) been phenomenal.”

Windham, though, took a 14-12 first-quarter lead.

“We had some real good intensity in the first quarter,” Windham Coach Brody Artes said. “Then we got back on our heels a little bit in the second quarter.”

The Knights pounced with full-court pressure that overwhelmed the Eagles, who could not get out of their end of the court. Windham made eight turnovers in the quarter – six against the press. Fleming played the free safety role to perfection, stepping into passing lanes, then hitting layups or dishing to teammates.

“She anticipates and sees the court well,” Reid said. “With the athletes we have, we try to give them the freedom with reads and what they see, and what they can do. They just really executed it well.”

The Knights made 16 steals overall with Fleming recording eight, and Kelly four.

Noble outscored the Eagles 29-8 in the second quarter to take a 41-22 halftime lead. Artes tried timeouts, but the turnovers kept coming.

“Oh boy, you’re telling me,” Artes said. “We made some poor decisions … that second quarter was the name of the game.”

The Knights do not have a deep roster and cannot afford fatigue or foul trouble. Reid call off the press in the second half, and the Eagles inched back, with Talon driving, drawing fouls and hitting four 3-pointers.

Drew fouled out, only to be replaced by another capable freshman, Paige Santiago. Sophomore point guard Olivia Howard also fouled out, and Windham closed to within seven points with two minutes left, and to 63-57 with 47 seconds remaining.


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