Before turning its thoughts toward a Tuesday match-up with unbeaten Iowa City High, the Bettendorf girls basketball team first dealt with a lesson learned in Saturday’s Iowa Class 5A regional opener.
The Bulldogs advanced with an 85-42 win over Davenport Central, shaking the Blue Devils with a strong second-half defensive effort that included execution that matched intensity.
"We didn’t play the type of defense we’re capable of playing in the first half and when you hang your hat on defense, that was disappointing," Bettendorf coach Brian Tritt said.
"We were sort of lazy in our approach on the defensive end at the start and we talked a lot about that at halftime. I liked the way we responded in the third quarter."
The Bulldogs limited Central to one field goal in the first five minutes of the third quarter, scoring the first nine points of the half as part of a 19-2 run that left Bettendorf in control 60-28 following a basket by Jordan Ratigan with 3 minutes, 18 seconds remaining in the quarter.
The Blue Devils mustered just seven points in the third quarter and three field goals in the first 12 minutes of the second half.
"We defended the way we expect to in the second half," Tritt said.
The Bulldogs set the stage for the second half by closing the first half with an 8-2 run, building a 41-26 lead at the break after Central had used a run of seven straight points to pull within 33-24 with just over two minutes left in the opening half.
"We traded a few baskets with them in the first half, and I thought our players gave a good effort," Blue Devils coach Rita Jett said. "We just couldn’t keep it going, and we didn’t have answer for them on the boards."
Bettendorf (17-5) owned a 36-24 edge on the boards and helped itself with 55.1-percent shooting, knocking down 32-of-58 shots.
Six Bulldogs scored at least nine points, an effort led by 16 apiece from Kylie Wroblewski and Ratigan and a 12-point game by Emily Ivory.
"I felt like we shared the ball well, which is what we like to see, but we have to complement that with what we do defensively," said Tritt, whose team visits Iowa City High (22-0) on Tuesday and faces a squad that beat Burlington 83-36 on Saturday.
McKenna Moore led Central (3-19) with 15 points, an effort complemented by an eight-point performance by freshman Nakari Bryant in her first varsity action.
"We’re making progress," Jett said. "Obviously, we’re not where we need to be, but day by day, we are improving."