The growth is evident with each passing game for the Muscatine girls basketball team. But, as coach Susan Orvis alluded to in the preseason, the little details will play a big factor in how many games the Muskies can win this season.
And it was the little details that came back to bite Muscatine once again in a 49-42 home loss to Mississippi Athletic Conference foe Davenport North on Tuesday night.
“We’re encouraged by what we’ve seen,” Orvis said. “There’s been progress on both sides of the ball. We still have a few details to shore up to get over the hump bit from a defensive standpoint I liked what we did.”
The Muskies, spearheaded by Rylie Moss, held the Wildcats to a season-low 49 points. Although Bella Sims scored 17 points, Moss made nearly every shot difficult for the Davenport North point guard and held her to six second half points.
Ivy Wilmington, Davenport North’s leading scorer entering the game, was held to just two points in the contest.
“(Sims) does a really nice job and that first step is important to her and to setting up their whole team,” Orvis said. “(Moss) made a nice adjustment in the second half of giving her a little more space so she could contain that first step.”
The Muskies used good defensive first-quarter and a 3-pointer from both Kendra Eller and Zoey Long to lead 10-9 after one. The second quarter, however, was where things unraveled for a stretch for the Muskies (1-6, 1-5).
Davenport North jumped out to a 10-point lead, 22-12, after switching from a zone to a halfcourt pressure defense that led to three layups off steals.
“Our turnovers hurt us tonight,” Orvis said. “That’s always the case but unfortunately they were the nature of turnovers that resulted in layups for them. That was a turning point.”
The Wildcats extended their lead to 27-14 late in the quarter but the Muskies closed the gap to six on back-to-back 3-pointers by Long and Alicia Garcia before halftime. Garcia, who led Muscatine with 17 points, scored the remainder of her points in the paint and was instrumental in the Muskies nearly finding a way to steal the game late.
“As we can get her in there more consistently it gives us a little more of a presence offensively,” Orvis said. “As she continues to attack the basket should open some things up inside and out.”
Davenport North (4-2, 4-1) pushed its lead out to 39-26 midway through the third quarter. However, two transition layups by Emily Woepking and an additional four points by Garcia sparked an 8-2 spurt to pull the Muskies within 41-34 entering the final quarter.
Woepking finished the game with eight points.
“(Emily) is someone that is naturally going to be one of our go-getters so to speak,” Orvis said. “We certainly liked her attacking the rim. We need more of that.”
Garcia started the fourth with another bucket to pull within five, but Moss fouled North’s Camry Dillie on a 3-point attempts moments later. Dillie sank all three free throws and extended North’s lead back to 44-36.
A few minutes later with North leading 44-38, Anne Awour found her way to the free throw line after corralling an offensive rebound. She split their pair but the Wildcats rebounded the miss and Awour made the ensuing layup to push the lead to nine.
Still, the Muskies had a chance after baskets by Woepking and Garcia pulled them within five, 47-42, and they earned possession of the ball with just over a minute remaining. Macey Rogers missed two contested shots in the paint and North secured the rebound and a win in Muscatine.
“We didn’t get the result we wanted,” Orvis said. “I think for this group if we can just get over the hump hopefully things start to roll for us a bit.
“We need to figure out how to grit one out and get over the hump.”