The game started out promising for Twin Valley as Colton Butler hit a three-pointer, and led her team to an 8-6 first-quarter deficit. But as coach Buddy Hayford said, the second quarter is where the “wheels fell off the bus.” The Green Wave took advantage of the Wildcats’ passing struggles, forcing turnovers and scoring 18 second-quarter points. “We got too far behind in that quarter,” said Hayford. “We lost the game in the second quarter, and we really threw the ball all around the gym. It was enough to doom us.”
The Wildcats are working on incorporating players into new positions this season, and Hayford said that Sammy Cunningham-Darrah and Colton Butler played well in their new roles running the one-and two-guard positions. Senior team captain Abbi Molner played both guard and the forward positions to help out up top, along with Jordan Niles and Jessica Fox coming off the bench to shoot.
The inside game had its struggles, with the Wildcats netting only six points in the paint, getting stuffed by a good Green Wave interior defense. Hayford says this is a point of emphasis going forward, and in order to compete, his players need to find ways to get the ball inside without forcing passes.
The second half played out better for the Wildcats who cut the lead to eight at the end of the third quarter by improving ball control and employing a better passing attack. The Wildcats also created more shot opportunities, but the shots just weren’t falling for Hayford’s crew. “We had first-half trouble in the passing game and creating scoring opportunities, but in the second half it was not bad,” said Hayford. “ In the second half you just have to make your shots and we didn’t. I hate to boil it down to something that simple because it’s something we practice.”
Both teams struggled from the line with Twin Valley going 3 for 14 in free throws, and Mount Saint Joseph making 7 out of 20.
Butler was the Wildcats’ top performer with 11 points, three rebounds, and four assists. Abbi Molner pitched in nine points, 10 rebounds, two assists, and three steals. The Wildcats’ rebounding game was a positive highlight as forwards Christina Moore, Lexi Reinerston, and Hannah Swanson contributed a combined 18 rebounds. Cunningham-Darrah also had an aggressive game, contributing two points, six rebounds, and three assists.
Claire Schmelzenbach scored 11 points for the Green Wave, while her sister Monica contributed seven points.
Hayford says, moving forward, offensive play must be a point of focus. “We have to execute in the offensive end much better, and the girls know. They saw examples of it last night and there were times when they ran our plays to perfection and either got a basket out of it or a beautiful look. We just need to now find ways to score the basketball each night.”
The Wildcats visit Rivendell Academy Friday night at 6:30.