Close no longer good enough for SC
Scott City senior Nancy Wiebe drives the lane against a Purcell defender during Saturday’s tournament play in Garden City.
By Rod Haxton, editor
The frustration was clearly evident in Sarah McCormick’s voice following Scott City’s 38-36 last-second loss to Wichita Trinity last Friday.
“I’m tired of losing these tight games and I hope the
girls are, too,” said the Lady Beavers head coach just one day after her team lost in overtime to Palmer Ridge in the Southwest Classic.
“I believe we’re going to be in a lot of games like this and we need to develop the mental toughness to win them.”
The Lady Beavers did show some character in the fourth quarter when they were able to erase a five point deficit, 32-27.
Junior guard Macy Price, who led the team with 13 points, jump started a 7-1 scoring burst with a three-point play at the 5:20 mark. Nancy Wiebe added a free throw and Price drained another three-pointer with 2:44 remaining that gave the Lady Beavers their first lead since the opening moments of the first half.
Wichita Trinity recaptured the lead with a three-pointer and junior guard Kaitlyn Roberts tied the game at 36-36 when she hit a baseline jumper with :47 remaining.
Trinity played for the final shot and they made the strategy pay off when they connected on a 10-foot jumper with only 3.5 seconds on the clock.
Despite the loss, McCormick felt her squad “played smart and executed well” down the stretch.
She said it’s all about sticking with the game plan.
“I told the girls, ‘Why don’t we try doing what we talk about in the huddle instead of going back on the floor and then forgetting what we’re supposed to do?’” said McCormick. “When everyone’s doing their own thing we aren’t going to get good results.”
The head coach said the team also needs to learn how to play with the lead and put a team away when they have the opportunity. SCHS led by as many as eight points in the first half and took a 17-15 lead into halftime. However, Trinity put together a 9-0 scoring run to start the second half.
“When you’re a team that has experience having the lead you understand that you can’t take your foot off the gas. I think we tend to relax a little with the lead,” McCormick says.
The head coach was impressed with the ability of Price to expand her role on the team, particularly on offense.
“She wasn’t expected to score when she played at Dodge City. They wanted her to be a ball handler. I need her to be both,” McCormick says. “That’s a new role for her and she’s making the adjustment.”
In addition, freshman pivot Emily Weathers came off the bench to score five points and was aggressive under the basket.
“She gave me a spark and that’s what we needed,” McCormick says.
Fall to Purcell
The tournament came to a disappointing conclusion for the Lady Beavers with a 45-27 loss to Purcell (Okla.) in the final tournament game on Saturday afternoon.
SCHS (1-3) struggled from the outset, hitting 1-of-10 from the field in the first quarter and committing eight turnovers while digging themselves into a 45-27 hole.
“Bailey (Latta) and Kiana (Yager) had really big defensive assignments against their two best players. When you have to guard someone like that it’s more difficult for you at the offensive end, so the other girls have to pick up the slack,” says McCormick.
Weather was able to pick up part of the load with a team high eight points while Latta added five.
The head coach says part of their offensive struggles came with an inability to finish strong in the paint.
“We don’t have to do anything complicated. We have to get stronger in the post and finish shots,” she emphasizes. “We can have the best plays in the world and create scoring opportunities, but it eventually comes down to us making the shots.”
With a long break until they return to action on Tuesday at Colby, McCormick says a lot of time will be spent reviewing film and working on offensive sets.
“Girls are having a difficult time getting open, particularly on the perimeter, and that makes it more difficult to get the shots we want,” she says. “With the post players we’re going to go back to basics and learn to shoot over defensive players.”
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