The first month of the season was anything but smooth for Macey Rogers. Even though the junior entered Friday’s contest as the Muscatine girls’ second leading scorer at 10.6 points per game on 49.4 percent shooting, she battled an illness for a few weeks that forced her to play just four minutes in one game and come off the bench for a few others.
With the illness behind her and a few weeks to rework the release point on her jumper, the sharp-shooting junior looked much more like the player who reached double-figures in four of the Muskies’ first six games on Friday night. Rogers scored a game-high 18 points and led Muscatine to a 62-15 home win over Davenport West.
“It felt great,” Rogers said. “I haven’t been able to do that for a while. It just felt great to play a team game with everybody scoring and put them away early.”
Rogers made six of her seven shots from the field and 5-of-6 shots from beyond the arc while playing a key role in the Muskies quick start. She scored 11 points in the opening quarter and made all four of her shots as the Muskies put the game well out of reach in the early stages.
Muscatine made 7-of-9 three-pointers in the opening period, and its full-court press forced Davenport West (0-10, 0-9) into nine turnovers. As a result, the Falcons only attempted three shots in the quarter and the Muskies held a commanding 23-0 lead after just eight minutes of play.
“We talked all throughout practice about how we were going to start in our press and try to get ahead quick and set the pace of the game,” Rogers said.
“We needed to do that,” head coach Susan Orvis added. “It sends a good message to come out with the right energy.”
The Falcons did score eight points in the second quarter and a season-high 15 for the game, but they never threatened after the opening moments as the Muskies played what Orvis thought was a solid four quarters. Senior Tessa Kerr was the only other Muskie to reach double-figures with 10 points, but all 10 Muskie players scored in the game thanks in large part to improved ball movement.
The Muskies shot 23-of-41 (56 percent) from the field and 11-of-24 (46 percent) from beyond the arc. They were 10-of-17 from beyond the arc before all of their starters took a seat for the final period.
“That was an emphasis for us in the first part of the season,” Orvis said of the ball movement. “But tonight it was ‘let’s come out and reverse the ball and get some shots in rhythm. I was really happy to see us shoot a little better tonight. Hopefully it’s a result of a little more space and ball movement.”
Now Muscatine (5-7, 4-5) will resume the tougher part of its Mississippi Athletic Conference schedule, starting with a home tilt against Davenport Assumption Tuesday night. Assumption beat Muscatine 59-56 in the second game of the season, but the Muskies had chances late in the game to walk away with a win.
The same can be said for a few of the other teams that will be traveling to Muscatine for the second half of the conference slate over the next month, and Orvis is excited to see how her young team measures up after making strides over the holiday break.
“We know we’ve been close and a lot of those were on the road,” Orvis said. “To turn those games around and play at home is a great opportunity for us. I’m anxious to see how we do because it’ll be a good test for us.”