Washington girls fall short of comeback at Muscatine
MUSCATINE – The Washington High School girls’ varsity basketball team faced the IGHSAU eighth-ranked Muscatine Muskies on Tuesday, Jan. 21 and lost the non-conference road game 51 – 39.
“It was a good 5A atmosphere and that’s why we put them on the schedule. They helped expose some things that we need to work on,” Washington head coach Phil Long said.
Washington struggled against the Muskies’ defense in the game, only scoring 12 points through the first 16 minutes of basketball. The Demons went into halftime looking at a 27 - 12 deficit.
“We finally faced a team with five good athletes on defense. They played good in the half-court on defense and great in the full-court press. We had about 13/14 turnovers that they forced and used to build their lead,” Long added.
The halftime adjustments improved the offensive flow for Washington, as the Demons more than doubled their first-half output in the second half, scoring 27 points.
“We handled their full-court pressure a lot better in the second half. We hit some three’s and when the girls see one of them scoring, they all get in on it. We only got to the free-throw line seven times in the game so that didn’t help. We normally get about 25 attempts from the free-throw line in a game,” Long explained.
Muscatine’s consistent attack on offense proved more than Washington, could overcome, however.
“We were down 22 points with about six minutes to play and our girls could have easily given up. I was proud of our defense as we only allowed Muscatine to score five points in that stretch and two of those came on free throws. We were just too far down to be able to come all the way back against a team like that,” Long said.
Senior Grace Redlinger led the Demons with 21 points, 19 of which she scored in the second half.
The loss drops Washington’s record to 9-4 overall. Their conference record remains unchanged at 1-1 and the Demon girls still control their own destiny in regard to winning the Southeast Conference. That destiny will begin to be decided on Friday, Jan. 24 in a Southeast Conference road game at Fairfield.
“Fairfield is coming off a game in which they held Mt. Pleasant, who beat Muscatine, to 31 points. They have a very deliberate, patient offensive attack. On defense they are well-coached. They’ve got some momentum and they’ve had a week to prepare for us. We need to do what we do best which is run the floor and use our depth. Whichever team executes their game plan best is the team that will win,” Long said of the contest with Fairfield.