Another top-tier foe bests Bobcats
Within striking distance of another top-ranked opponent, the Marshalltown girls’ basketball team saw its two biggest issues resurface in frustrating fashion during the third quarter Saturday.
A flurry of turnovers including many unforced and an impatient offensive approach resulted in another single-digit frame as the Bobcats were outscored 23-4 and saw a 14-point deficit balloon to 33.
Class 5A No. 10 Cedar Rapids Washington thrived on a few Bobcat travels, several transition buckets created by its press and back-to-back technicals to briefly set the continuous clock in motion in a 67-44 non-conference rout over Marshalltown at the Roundhouse.
The turbulent third quarter reached its boiling point for the Bobcats when another hard drive to the basket by Sam Hughes resulted in no foul, but instead a pair of frustration technicals against both Hughes and MHS coach Stacy O’Hare.
“Right now it’s frustration for everybody. It’s frustration for me and frustration for Sam because she’s working so hard and not getting the calls under the basket like she should,” said O’Hare, who supported the junior’s passion.
“I applaud her at times because she continues to fight. That shows me she has a lot of spark in herself.”
That spark showed for Marshalltown (3-13) as a team early with points in transition, hard drives to the bucket and solid work on the boards before things went awry en route to their eighth straight defeat.
MHS answered a 15-4 Warrior run with six unanswered to pull back within 18-14 on Amanda Hughes’s 3-pointer from the corner with 2:24 left in the first. Though the Bobcats’ bugaboo of consecutive turnovers reared its head in the final minute as Cedar Rapids Washington (12-3) scored the last eight points of the quarter and stretched the surge to 12 early in the second to build a 30-14 advantage. The Warriors widened the gap as far as 20 in the quarter before four free throws from Kali Banks and Rachel Whaley, and a transition layup by Tabby Steffensen in the closing seconds gave MHS some life heading into the half down 37-23.
“We talked at half that we were still in the game if we get a couple stops, hit some buckets and close the gap,” O’Hare said.
“There again, there’s that one quarter where we have single digits and against good teams you can’t afford to do that.”
Class 5A’s second-leading scorer Danielle Franklin had nine points at the half as MHS kept her fairly contained before the Valparaiso commit got going with three inside baskets and four free throws following the Bobcat technicals. Franklin led the Warriors with 20 points, Aleena Hobbs added 13 and Anne Visser had 10 in the squad’s fifth straight victory.
“We were fortunate that they ran into a series where they had a few empty possessions with some travels and then we were able to get our low post game going,” Warriors coach Frank Howell said.
“They did a very good job of pushing the tempo. At times, we were not very good in transition.”
MHS got out in the open for several fast-break buckets in the first half but a string of turnovers in the third never allowed the Bobcats to find the same quality looks.
“The biggest thing is when we start committing turnovers and we haven’t gotten a good shot,” O’Hare said.
“That’s where we really need to fight through that, take care of the ball and continue to stay positive and stay confident.”
Sam Hughes paced MHS with 11 points, five rebounds and one block, while Amanda Hughes tallied nine points and two steals. Kali Banks and Rachel Whaley each scored six with Whaley grabbing a team-high eight rebounds and Rachel Blagg snared six. Banks also had two steals.
The Bobcats face another ranked opponent Tuesday when they travel to No. 3 Dowling Catholic for a Central Iowa Conference cross-divisional game. Tip-off is set for 6:15 p.m.
The Warriors’ three losses came against Class 5A top-10 foes including No. 1 Iowa City High, No. 5 Des Moines East and No. 7 Cedar Rapids Kennedy. … Danielle Franklin is the second-leading scorer in Class 5A at 22.2 points per game and was a first-team all-state selection last season. She was also nominated to the 2013-14 McDonald’s All-American Team.