The formula has been same in most of the losses this season for the Muscatine boys basketball team: Turn the ball over, allow transition baskets and fall behind early.
It was more of the same Friday night, as Muscatine fell behind by as many as 16 in the opening 12 minutes in a 57-31 home loss to Davenport West.
“We’ve had 16 games, what else do you say?” coach John Windham said. “Are we not making the same mistakes? We’re at the point where we’re still coaching these guys and teaching them what to do, and it shouldn’t be that way.”
Those mistakes, such as dribbling into double teams, rushing shots in the paint and allowing transition baskets, plagued the Muskies in their failed pursuit of a win this season. Muscatine (0-16, 0-13 MAC) turned the ball over 19 times, and Davenport West (6-11, 4-11 MAC) punished the Muskies time and time again by scoring in transition.
“Their offense is created from their defense,” Windham said of West. “That’s their whole offense; steal the ball and go score.”
The Muskies turned it over five times in the opening three minutes and 10 times in the first quarter against an aggressive Falcons halfcourt defense that employed frenetic traps in any situation.
Muscatine’s first basket came nearly six minutes into the game off a steal by Jake Thomas that ended up in the hands of Jose Martinez III for a layup to bring Muscatine within 10-2. The Muskies went scoreless for the next five minutes of play and trailed 15-4 by the time Martinez made his next shot — another layup — midway through the second quarter.
“(The) last three games Jake’s played his (butt) off,” Windham said. “He’s the one kid right now who is giving it his all. He’s being emotional and physical. (Jose) did come in tonight and brought the same thing. That’s the stuff we’ve been preaching the whole year.
“Someone has to step up and be the emotional leader. There’s no emotional leader on this group.”
Yahn, who led the Muskies with 17 points, hit back-to-back 3-pointers later in the quarter to help trim into a 16-point deficit. The sophomore was the only Muscatine player to score more than four points.
Still, Davenport West led Muscatine 22-10 late in the second quarter. The Falcons closed the half strong on a 7-0 run, which included a thunderous two-handed dunk by Malik Westerfield and a layup at the buzzer by Jamil Haymond to take a 29-10 lead into the locker room.
Westerfield led the Falcons with a game-high 19 points, including 11 points in the third quarter to push Davenport West’s lead to 44-22 by the end of the third quarter. Jamil Haymond added 16 for the Falcons.
For the Muskies, meanwhile, the effort on the offensive glass was there time and time again, but they often rushed layups, something Windham said has been an issue all season for his group.
The margin was never closer than 22 in the final period.
Muscatine will look for its first win of the season today when it travels to Burlington for a 2:30 p.m. tip. When the teams met the first time it was one of only two games where the final margin was single digits for the Muskies. The game came down to the final possession with Burlington winning 60-58.