Getting back into gear
After a 17-day rest during the winter break and a postponed game against Keokuk due to inclement weather, the Washington girls’ basketball team is back in action at Davis County at 7:30 p.m., Friday.
“The positives (of an extended break) is it gives you the opportunity to work on a few things,” said head coach Phil Long.
He mentioned instilling a couple of more presses, working on shooting and free throws.
“There are way more negatives from a pure flow from the game,” Long said. “Everybody is going to be in the same boat.”
The Demons will hope to continue their four-game winning streak.
“With the holidays falling in the middle of the week, we never did get a whole week’s practice in,” Long said.
This will be the first of two conference games before the home stretch of the league season. According to Long, it will be crucial for his team to get game-ready before conference action.
Washington has been in four close games already, having gone 2-2 in games decided by 6 points or fewer.
Washington will meet another team with two losses. The Demons are 6-2 and Davis County is 4-2.
Washington has yet to find its shooting touch, but it does have three players scoring at least 9 points a game — junior Stephanie Fishback and seniors Dema Giardino and Grace Redlinger.
The Mustangs have proven to be strong after halftime. They rank No. 12 in Class 3A with 103 points in the third period.
Both teams have been solid on the glass in the young season. Davis County is No. 8 in the state with 36.7 a contest.
Washington isn’t far behind with 35 per game, which ranks ninth in Class 4A.
“We’re a team that is only 5-foot-7 tall; I’ll take that all day long,” Long said. “It is a pure effort thing from our kids. We work really hard, especially on the offensive end.”
Unlike Davis County, Washington does most of its damage on the offensive glass. The Demons are second in the state with 116 offensive rebounds.
Redlinger has 25 offensive rebounds, which is ninth in the state. She is one shy of being tied for fifth.
The team’s 164 defensive rebounds rank sixth.
Junior Sydney Hoffman leads the team with 28 defensive boards
Fishback and Giardino round out Washington’s list of four players with at least 39 rebounds.
Washington does most of its scoring when it counts — in the fourth quarter. It has scored 105 points, which is in the top 10 in state.
The Mustangs are turning the ball over at a 17.5 clip per game. Washington struggles to handle the ball, too, with 18.1 miscues a game.
“That has really come down after averaging 24 or 25 the last three of four games,” Long said. “If we can keep it in that 12 category, that will help us.”
The Mustangs have a pair of players scoring more than 17 points a game. Senior Shelby Graves leads the team with 17.8 points per game. Senior Rylee Eakins has scored 17.3 points a game in the three games she has appeared in.
“Davis County is a team that is not going to bottle a lot of 3-pointers on you,” Long said. “They are going to pound on the post. That is where we have had to work on the most — keeping players off the boards. Hoffman and (senior Addison) Shive have done a masterful job at the five spot.”
Long said he expects the tempo of the game to be too much for the Mustangs to handle. Washington will likely use new full-court presses.
Long referenced last year’s 15-5 hole his team was in against Mt. Pleasant after the holiday break, for how rough starts can be. Washington did come back to win the game 60-57.