Missed bunnies cost Demons
Shots rattled out. Shots rolled off the rim. Shots caromed off the glass and missed the rim completely. But very few of Washington’s shots fell through the net on Tuesday night.
The Demons had their worst shooting performance of the season, and visiting Pella upset No. 14 Washington 50-40 on Senior Night.
“It wasn’t like we could make a lot of adjustments at halftime or even during timeouts because it wasn’t an X’s and O’s thing. It just wasn’t going in. It just absolutely wasn’t going in,” Washington head coach Phil Long said.
The Demons (11-5) entered Tuesday’s game shooting just 34 percent from the field on the season. They shot an icy 18 percent (11-for-60) from the field in the loss, with many of those misses coming from point-blank range.
“The sad part is that if we’re 20-for-60, we win by 10,” Long said. “We out-scored them from the free-throw line and we out-scored them from the 3-point line, but on Senior Night we couldn’t make a 2-footer.”
Washington out-rebounded the taller Little Dutch 49-37, and the Demons grabbed 22 offensive rebounds in the contest. But Washington couldn’t convert on the second chances.
“We struggled,” Washington junior Dema Giardino said. “On the bunnies was the worst part.”
Pella (6-9) led nearly the entire game. Washington junior Grace Redlinger’s layup gave the Demons a 3-2 lead midway through the first quarter, but Pella senoir Sheldon Rozenberg hit back-to-back jumpers to give the Little Dutch the lead for good.
Pella led by six at halftime and extended its lead to nine points midway through the third quarter before Giardino hit back-to-back 3-pointers to pull the Demons within four.
“I just knew we had to step up,” Giardino said.
Rozenberg answered with a baseline jumper, but Washington junior Addie Shive scored on an assist from Giardino to again make it a four-point game with 1:36 left in the third. But the Little Dutch answered with a 9-1 run to stretch their lead to 11 points with 4:40 left in the game, and Pella went on to upset its second ranked opponent in three games. The Little Dutch also toppled No. 13 Oskaloosa in double overtime on Friday.
Rozenberg, who entered Tuesday’s contest averaging 4.1 points per game, scored a game-high 13 points to lead the Little Dutch. She also grabbed eight rebounds. Sophomore Jessica Holterhaus addded 11 points and six boards, and senior Allison DeMeulenaere had eight points and five steals.
Redlinger scored 12 points to lead Washington, and she also had six rebounds and four steals. Giardino matched her career high with nine points, and junior Stephanie Fishback had seven. Senior Beth Dillon had five points to go with 15 rebounds.
Long said his squad looked tired against the Little Dutch.
“We were out of shape,” he said. “Early we were trying to tap out of that game, and you didn’t see the Pella girls wanting to tap out. I’ve made practices too easy these last seven or eight days and not done enough full-court stuff. I thought we looked winded, and obviously when you get tired, shooters’ legs get bad.”
Long plans to work his team back into shape before Friday’s key Southeast Conference game against Keokuk. He also plans to measure the rims inside Washington’s new high school.