Tigers turn back Blackhawks
With two of its top scorers already sidelined by injury, the Marshalltown Community College women’s basketball team was dealt another challenge Wednesday – playing the first half without leading scorer Jasmin Howe.
Spending the first 22 minutes of the game on the bench because of some “time management” issues, the Australian guard showed Tigers’ coach Steve Garber the response he was looking for both on and off the floor.
Howe scored 11 points including the go-ahead 3-pointer with 12:21 left as the Tigers (13-5, 4-3) overcame an 11-point first-half deficit for a 59-47 victory over Southeastern CC in Iowa Community College Athletic Conference Division II play at the Student Activity Center.
Jamerka Martin led the shorthanded Tigers with 15 of her game-high 19 points in the first half and buried two of her three 3-pointers during a 12-0 MCC surge spanning the halves. Danielle Montgomery piled up career-highs in points (13) and rebounds (11) and Courtney Williams-Perry added 12 boards and seven points as the Tigers earned a 42-29 advantage on the glass.
Howe replaced Martin at the 17:51 mark and though she struggled initially at the offensive end, she found other ways to contribute with a pair of offensive boards and a block.
“The response was the most important thing,” Garber said of Howe. “Her attitude about it was good and she was positive on the bench too. These are different factors that we try to teach the kids. You’re a player on the bench just as well as you’re a player on the floor.”
The Blackhawks (5-15, 1-6) steadily built their lead in the first half outscoring the Tigers 16-5 as Brittany Bryan’s corner 3 gave Southeastern a 29-18 cushion 3 1/2 minutes before halftime.
Martin and Montgomery each scored six during the Tigers’ rally as the BCLUW grad’s putback gave MCC its first lead since 8-6 in the opening minutes.
“We’re really pleased with the post play as far as taking command of doing things offensively,” said Garber, who also got seven points from Rusty Henio off the bench. “Our posts have always been pretty decent defensively but with scoring we’ve been wanting Danielle and Courtney to do more.
“Rusty did a great job coming off the bench as well. Some of her passes and composure looking for players were a big factor in us coming back.”
MCC shot just 33 percent in the first half but created several second-chance opportunities with nine offensive rebounds and 15 in the game, while limiting Southeastern to seven overall.
The Blackhawks reestablished a 36-32 lead early in the second stanza before Howe assisted on a basket for Williams-Perry and scored seven of the team’s next 14 to put MCC ahead 48-39 with 8 minutes to go.
“I had to prove that I should be in the game,” Howe said. “I can’t dwell on the first half, I just have to move past that. We needed the win and the girls pump you up as well. You do something good and they encourage you which gets you going.”
Southeastern never got closer than seven the rest of the way as Howe’s long two from the corner effectively put things away at 55-43 inside of 3 minutes. Champale Grays was the only Blackhawk in double figures with 12 points as Southeastern shot just 30 percent after halftime.
“Not giving up second shots was important,” Garber said of his team’s defense.
“Conditioning was a big factor too. We busted their tails in practice Monday and that showed up tonight. We were still going hard throughout the whole second half, while (Southeastern) seemed to have a little lull at times.
Ashley Salgado contributed six assists, four steals and three rebounds in a 40-minute outing for MCC.
The Tigers hope to welcome back Mackenzie Gott – the squad’s second leading scorer and rebounder – to practice Monday. Garber said the sophomore forward suffered a combination of a bruised bone and mild strain or tear in her LCL that didn’t require surgery after she went down early in the first half of MCC’s win over Iowa Lakes on Jan. 15.
“Mackenzie will start running and moving up and down the floor on Monday,” Garber said.
“It’ just about keeping the flexibility going and building back up the strength in her legs.”
The Tigers hit the road to face Southwestern Community College (3-14, 1-5) Saturday at 1 p.m.
MCC moved ahead of DMACC in the ICCAC standings. Both teams are 4-3, though the Tigers hold the tiebreaker with their 68-67 win over the Bears on Jan. 11.