Brian Ortmeier knows improvements will need to be made moving forward, but he wasn't about to avoid celebrating victory No. 1 as head coach of the Iowa Central women.
Ortmeier's Tritons led from start to finish against North Iowa Area here Wednesday night inside Hodges Fieldhouse, posting a 64-54 victory over the reigning ICCAC champions.
Nevaeh Galloway recorded a double-double in her first game, scoring a team-high 15 points to go along with 15 rebounds, six steals and four blocks. Five other players scored at least seven in a balanced effort from the field.
"It feels good," Ortmeier said. "It feels good to get that first one out of the way. We've got some areas we need to get better at, but now we have that first game under our belts."
Iowa Central raced out of the gates, scoring the first five points of the game in building a 16-11 advantage after the first. That lead grew to as many as 15 in the first half as Galloway and Bell each scored seven points.
"Nevaeh had a really good game," Ortmeier said. "She was excited to get back out there after missing last season with a knee injury. She's a strong player and did a nice job of finishing at the basket."
Webster City graduate Taylor McKinney collected her first collegiate points in the early going, finishing with 11. She also had a key bucket late in the fourth to help seal the victory.
"Taylor played like a sophomore instead of a freshman out there," Ortmeier said. "She has a lot of experience and is a player we trust late in the game."
The Trojans, who returned just two players from last year, cut the deficit to eight on a number of instances in the third but could get no closer.
Ortmeier replaced Kelly Kruger during the offseason after Kruger announced his retirement. He spent the previous four seasons at Laramie building the program from the ground up.
"We got a little careless there in the fourth and NIACC got back in it," Ortmeier said. "Some of that was playing for the first time because you could see the fatigue on their faces."
Iowa Central returns to action Saturday when they face Iowa Western back here at 1 p.m. start. The Reivers, who played Iowa Lakes last night, are ranked 24th in Div. I.
-By Dana Becker