LOOGOOTEE — After a tough start to the season, the Loogootee girls’ basketball team thought Tuesday night was its night.
The Springs Valley Lady Hawks (3-3) defeated the Lady Lions (0-8) 56-34 Tuesday evening at Jack Butcher Arena.
The Hawks wasted no time jumping out to a quick lead in the opening minutes, as they took a 10-4 lead after the first quarter. Loogootee struggled to find offense, missing eight of its first nine shots. The second quarter, however, was no different. Springs Valley outscored the Lions 15-5 in the second quarter to take a commanding 25-9 lead at halftime.
Loogootee came out with a much more aggressive attitude in the second half as they a much more even half. Loogootee were led by senior Gabrielle Ritchey with 14 points, and freshman Emily Bateman with 10 points.
The Lions were outscored 13-12 in the third quarter, and were outscored by only a slim six-point margin, 31-25 resulting in the 56-34 final. The strong showing in the second half aside, head coach Josh Mullis wasn’t pleased with the approach his team came in with.
“We might have hit some shots in the second half, but you have to be a gamer,” Mullis said. “You can’t just live on 17, 18-footers in the first half. Drive the ball to the basket. We just had a lot of bad basketball, and not very smart play.”
The lackluster performance in the game’s first 16 minutes was especially unsettling, because Mullis thought the win-less Lions had a shot to come away with a victory Tuesday night, and it doesn’t bode well for Thursday’s matchup against one-win Washington Catholic.
“I’m not real pleased,” Mullis said. “I thought tonight was a team we could compete with, and win, lose or draw when you compete you can learn something from that game. This team (Springs Valley) only beat Washington Catholic by two points, and that’s who we got Thursday. We can’t just show up on Thursday expecting to win just because Washington Catholic has been down for a few years. Their coaches got them playing hard, playing well. If we go in with that kind of effort, they’re going to send us home with our tails between our legs.”
Mullis isn’t sure what kind of improvement he can expect for Thursday evening with only one day of practice in between after the confidence he thought was displayed leading up to the Springs Valley game.
“We actually competed, and worked really hard in practice, I thought we were ready,” Mullis said. “I had one of the girls in class today, and she said ‘I think we’re going to get a win tonight’. They felt that we had practiced well, I thought we had practiced well, and the bright lights were on and all of a sudden they are nervous.”
Mullis said the more competitive second half was due in part to the fact that the game was out of hand, and there was zero pressure on his young team.
Loogootee’s current varsity roster has 10 players, and only two juniors and one senior. Mullis said coming out after halftime his team was much more loose, which was the reason for its more aggressive play.