Mustang girls score season-low in defeat to Dike-New Hartford

LE GRAND Brooke Morgan didn’t score a single point in the first half, but her impact was evident from the opening tip.

Dike-New Hartford’s 6-foot-5 sophomore center blocked four shots, altered many more was one of several Wolverines that thwarted the Mustangs’ attack Thursday.

The East Marshall girls basketball team never found its stroke en route to a season-low scoring output as the Wolverines pulled away early for a 43-14 triumph in a NICL cross-divisional game Thursday.

“We played timid the whole night,” East Marshall coach Rob Drake said.

“(Dike-New Hartford) is very athletic and it was very difficult for our girls. Confidence right now on the offensive end is a struggle for us.”

Fueled by several Mustang miscues and many one-and-done offensive trips, the Wolverines got several baskets on the break to spur an 8-0 run en route to a 16-4 lead after one.

Morgan tallied two blocks in the opening quarter and swatted another early in the second as a pair of transition buckets from Briana Weber widened the margin to 24-4 at the half.

Cementing the back end of the Wolverines’ 2-3 zone, Morgan stationed herself inside the paint most of the night an area the Mustangs seemed hesitant to approach a majority of the game. While Drake didn’t expect his squad to find much success against the Wolverine’s taller lineup inside, he expected some more aggressiveness.

“We wanted to attack the zone,” Drake said.

“We knew we weren’t going to score at the basket, but we wanted to get some 10 and 12 footers around the free throw area.”

East Marshall (2-14, 1-9) picked up their play defensively in the third, but still couldn’t find a spark on the offensive end as the Wolverines (9-5, 4-3) took a 30-9 advantage into the final frame.

Mustang guard Mariah Fritz, playing in just her third game after missing the first half of the season with an ankle injury, hit a trey early in the fourth, but it was one of the few bright spots.

“They got a lot of points in transition in the first half and we did a better job in most of the second half,” Drake said.

Weber and Lizzy Blough led the Wolverines with 10 points apiece, while Ashley Dumler added six and Olivia Verhulst had five. Morgan finished with as many points (4) as blocks for Dike-New Hartford, which has won six of its last eight.

Fritz and Kristen Amendt both had three points to lead East Marshall, while Paige Miller, Katie Roseland, Ashley Allen and Meriel Leavy each had two.

While you can’t coach speed or height, Drake believes the mental game will play a critical role in the Mustangs getting their offense on track.

“It’s a confidence thing,” Drake said.

“They just have to figure out that when you’re going through adversity, you just get up every time you’re knocked down.”

Stuck in a six-game slide, the Mustangs needn’t look any further for inspiration than their head coach, who was coaching in his third game of the year.

Drake stepped down before the season after being diagnosed with lung cancer in November.

East Marshall returns to NICL West action against AGWSR on the road tonight.


East Marshall coach Rob Drake commented he’s feeling much better since his return. “I feel good and don’t have anything that will hold me back, otherwise I wouldn’t be doing it.” … All five of the Wolverines’ losses have come against teams currently or previously ranked. Dike-New Hartford lost two against Class 2A No. 5 Aplington Parkersburg, one versus Class 2A No. 15 West Marshall, and a pair to Union Community, ranked as high as No. 6 in Class 3A earlier this season.