DAVENPORT, Iowa — Fresh out of the holiday break Muscatine girls basketball coach Susan Orvis had two goals for her team in Friday night’s game at Davenport West.
Get off to a quick start and pick up the tempo.
Sure enough, Muscatine was able to do just that in a 63-22 road win over Davenport West on Friday. The Muskies (4-8, 4-5 MAC) used a press and a halfcourt trapping defense to jump out to an 18-2 lead in the opening five minutes.
They never looked back.
“We wanted to get off to a good start so I did appreciate the energy they came out with,” Orvis said of her team. “Obviously it helped to shoot the ball well early, and that was good. Hopefully their confidence continues to grow.”
Sophomore Zoey Long led the Muskies in scoring with 17 points, including three makes from beyond the arc in the first quarter to help the Muskies build a 26-3 lead.
“I’ve really seen growth with Zoey,” Orvis said. “The ball is hitting her hands and it’s going up. I think it’s just being another year older and that much more confident that those shots are coming. I think we’re doing a better job of moving the basketball, too.”
Another beneficiary of Muscatine’s ball movement was senior Kendra Eller, who entered the game shooting 4-of-26 from beyond the arc on the season. However, Eller, who Orvis knows is a good shooter, knocked down three of her five shots from beyond the arc with two coming in the opening quarter.
“Earlier in the year she was a little hesitant with her shots,” Orvis said of Eller. “We were excited to see her not hesitate and knock a few down. Certainly, it’s a confidence thing and a timing thing. We’re starting to see those things come together.”
Muscatine extended it’s 20-point lead to 29, 38-9, heading into the locker room. However, Davenport West (0-11, 0-9) put together a 8-0 run on the third quarter prompting Orvis to use a rare timeout.
“I thought their (West) energy starting to bump up,” Orvis said. “We’ve talked about as a young team getting over the hump, in some of those ballgames we have to string runs together. We make a run, they stop it, and we have to make another run.”
The Muskies did just that, as they ended the third quarter on an 8-0 run punctuated by a Madi Petersen 3-pointer to give Muscatine a 53-19 advantage after three quarters. From there, the Muskies cruised to their second consecutive win, marking the first time this season the Muskies have won back-to-back games.
“I think we’re starting to see it come,” Orvis said. “We do feel we’re starting to make some improvements, and it’s nice to see the results from time to time. We certainly know it’s going to get tougher for us this next week.”
However, Muscatine will likely benefit from the return of Rylie Moss. The sophomore guard missed Friday’s game after hitting her head in practice over the holiday break but will likely be back in action Tuesday at Davenport Assumption.
“She’ll be out there Tuesday so hopefully we’ll have her back,” Orvis said of Moss. She brings a great deal of energy and intensity to us so we’re looking forward to having her back.”