DAVENPORT, Iowa -- When Macey Rogers nailed a three in the final 90 seconds of the first quarter Monday night, the Muscatine girls basketball team was down only seven against Davenport North.
With 10 seconds left in the first half, Avarie Eagle connected on a trifecta. Jogging into the locker room, the Muskies were down 20.
The Wildcats held their Mississippi Athletic Conference opponent to zero points for over 10 minutes that catapulted them to a 63-47 victory at Davenport North High School.
“When they picked up the ball pressure, we got a little too passive and we didn’t handle it,” Muscatine head coach Susan Orvis said. “I thought we were a little lethargic. We let their pressure push our offense out a little bit.
“They’re a team of streaks and we gave them enough of a margin that was going to be kind of unrecoverable.”
There was an early sense baskets would be hard to come by for the Muskies (6-12, 6-9 MAC).
Kayla Scholz scored all of her eight points on a perfect 4-for-4 from the field in the first period. The rest of the team in the first 16 minutes shot a combined 2-for-13 to go along with 10 turnovers.
That stretch powered the Wildcats (9-7, 8-5 MAC) on a 13-0 run as they went into the second half up 34-14.
All of this coming three days after they upset Class 5A 15th-ranked Bettendorf on the road.
“I think for us, this next step is consistency,” Orvis said. “When we can be aggressive and attack and play with some tempo, we’re going to be hard to play against.”
It didn’t help that Alicia Gracia, who had 17 points in the first meeting, was held scoreless on just one field goal attempt and four rebounds.
With Reese Ranum healthy for North after missing December's matchup, she was the primary defender on the UNI commit.
“They did a nice job pulling the paint,” Orvis said. “Those are adjustments we’re going to have make and adjust sooner. It took us too long to do that.”
Garcia ended up leading the Muskies with 10 points, all coming in the second half, but their next three leading scorers - Zoey Long, Macey Rogers and Emily Woepking - had a combined 13 points on four made field goals.
It was a defensive performance that got the better of Muscatine.
“We have to take our medicine, but we have to move on,” Orvis said. “We’ve got to bounce back.”
The schedule does become lighter as their next three games are at home before a road playoff game with top-ranked Iowa City High.
Orvis now has the job to keep players healthy and rotate minutes easily to keep legs fresh for the postseason.
“We’re trying to stretch ourselves out and down the line, we’d like to have more depth,” she said. “It’s more critical now.”