Granted, it's hard to take away much from one game, but the Warren G. Harding boys basketball team impressed after solidly beating Ursuline in Friday's opener.
The Raiders' defense swarms the opposing players - thought it doesn't force a lot of turnovers - it makes the other team take erratic shots.
WGH's shots were falling Friday, shooting around 50 percent from the floor and from the 3-point arc.
The Raiders were 6 of 7 from the line prior to the fourth quarter, but got a bit lax by connecting only 3 of 8 in the final stanza.
Harding has to rely on pressure defense, a good inside-out game to open up the 3 to be successful this season. In the same breath, the Raiders committed 18 turnovers. It might be opening-night jitters, but WGH has to solve that quickly before going forward with its tenacious schedule.
The Raiders, whose biggest player is 6 foot-3, has to be vigilant to keep good ball rotation and maintain great shot selection.
Remember, WGH is doing this with only two players that sniffed any time with last year's varsity team (Mik'quan Dorsey and Osha Jackson), under then-coach and current WGH football coach Steve Arnold.
So far, first-year coach Andy Vlajkovich has the right game plan for this youthful and energized team. This is game one of a much tougher schedule ahead for the Raiders. Next up, Maple Heights at home on Friday to begin Lake Erie League play.
Tuesday, the Red Dragons girls team edged out Champion for its opening win at War Memorial Gymnasium. Then on Friday, the boys also squeaked one out against Newton Falls.
It's not sure what's in store for both Red Dragon teams this year, but picking up opening night wins always helps the confidence.
It's a pretty easy month for YSU with home games against Geneva (Thursday), Hiram (Saturday) and Marygrove (Dec. 29).
After finals week, the Penguins have a tough two-game stretch Dec. 18 at South Florida and Dec. 21 at Bethune-Cookman.
The women's team, which is off to its best start in almost 15 years at 5-1, is at IUPUI tonight. Then the Penguins travel to Cincinnati on Wednesday, host Wilmington on Sunday, then follow that with a trip to West Virginia, then wrap up the swing with home games against Akron and Bucknell.
The men need to go at least 3-2, but more preferably 4-1 in December to set YSU up for the rigorous Horizon League schedule in January.
It's a harder stretch for the women. But if the Penguins can come away with a total of three or fewer losses heading into January, YSU could be seeking the team's first Horizon League title in school history.