MUSCATINE, Iowa -- It would have been easy for players on the Muscatine girls basketball team to be discouraged Friday against North Scott.
The Muskies had twice the amount of turnovers (16) as made shots (eight), and they were held to just one point and missed all five of their shots in the fourth quarter all while committing five turnovers in the period.
All of that resulted in North Scott forcing Muscatine’s second lowest offensive output of the season in beating the Muskies 38-26.
Even though Muscatine was held scoreless in the third quarter until a Macey Rogers layup for two of her team-high nine points just under the five-minute mark, the Muskies’ defense kept them within striking distance. In fact, North Scott’s lead was just 29-25 after Paige Miller scored two of her six points on a jumper at the buzzer to end the quarter.
But for all of Muscatine’s offensive struggles in the first three periods caused by North Scott’s (13-2) pressure defense, things snowballed in the fourth quarter.
The Muskies only attempted five shots in the period, and four of them came after the two minute mark. Even so, Muscatine still hung around, at least until North Scott’s Presley Case, who scored a game-high 15 points, buried a corner 3 to give the Lancers a 34-26 lead with just under five minutes remaining.
The Muskies' sense of urgency turned quickly turned to panic, but their offense started further from the basket with each passing possession.
“That’s a credit to them,” Muscatine coach Susan Orvis said. “At the same time I know we can learn from that, I know we can be tougher. We have to get stronger with the ball, whether it’s ripping rebounds, dribbling or getting open.”
North Scott coach TJ Case was thrilled with his team’s defensive effort on Friday, which enabled his team to bury the Muskies in the fourth period despite scoring just nine points.
“I thought we were really active and forcing some turnovers but our girls were getting tired,” Case said. “It’s credit to the girls, this group doesn’t want to lose.”
There were some positives for Muscatine on the defensive side of the ball, as the Muskies held the Lancers to their second lowest offensive output of the season.
Coach Case felt Muscatine’s transition defense and length, mainly Alicia Garcia, caused the Lancers problems.
On top of that, even when things went poorly, the Muskies (5-10) showed the type of fight Orvis has been looking for out of her club as of late. The Muskies didn’t score a single point in the first five minutes of the first quarter or the first three minutes of the second quarter, but they still fought to a 19-19 tie at halftime.
“I thought they went to fight a little more tonight, and that’s something we’ve talked about,” Orvis said. “I was really pleased with the fight I saw.”