Davenport North High School girls basketball coach Paul Rucker cited the book, “The Way of the Champion,” as part of the team’s philosophy following a bounceback win over Bettendorf on Friday night.
The Wildcats used a 22-11 second-quarter advantage fueled by freshman standout Journey Houston to help defeat the visiting Bulldogs 57-45 in Mississippi Athletic Conference play.
North’s win followed a one-point setback at North Scott on Tuesday.
“The Way of the Champion: Lessons from Sun Tzu's the Art of War and Other Tao Wisdom for Sports & Life” is written by Jerry Lynch and Chungliang Al Huang.
“In that book, they’re talking about the mind of a champion,” Rucker said. “That loss to North Scott by one, for some people that’s kind of a crushing thing. But if you’re a true champion and you’re building toward something, sometimes those hard losses and that adversity sparks you to come back just a little bit better the next time.”
Ball movement and a downhill charge powered the second-quarter swing after Bettendorf (9-5, 7-4 MAC) led 12-11 after one quarter.
Houston made five shots in a row heading into halftime and scored 12 of her game-high 22 points in the frame as North went up 33-23 at halftime. Houston pushed the ball down court and converted two straight and-1 chances in the quarter.
Offsetting a 1 of 14 performance from deep and 10 of 20 at the line, North cut to the basket and finished inside more often than not. Divine Bourrage added 15 points and Kyra Taylor scored 11 points with 10 rebounds for the Wildcats (5-7, 4-6).
“Going to the basket, that’s good for us,” Rucker said. “You’re going to put the pressure on them to either, we’re going to get there and finish or they’re going to get into a little foul trouble, which happened.”
Four of Bettendorf’s five starters combined for 16 of the team’s 19 fouls in the loss. The Bulldogs shot 17 of 55 (31 %) from the field.
Izzy Appel led BHS with 13 points and Lillie Petersen finished with 12 points and 11 rebounds after being held to two points in the first half against a physical North team.
“Petersen does a really good job in there, you’ve got to make sure you keep her off the boards,” Rucker said. “I do think our ‘D,’ as a whole, when we decide to get after it and keep people out of the middle, we do a pretty nice job.”
Bettendorf was 6 of 21 from deep and 5 of 9 at the line.
Rucker’s team is still growing physically and mentally through experience, but it’s all about “getting to the next right thing” if mistakes are made.