The Ottumwa Courier

February 3, 2013

Moravia girls improve to 17-2

ROGER THOMAS
Ottumwa Courier

BLOOMFIELD — The Moravia girls basketball team used two late baskets by Kendall Brown to down Davis County 65-64 in non-conference basketball action in Bloomfield Saturday. Davis County is the second South Central Conference team that the Mohawks have beaten this season. Earlier they downed Centerville to help fashion their 17-2 record.

After a Mustang basket by Rylee Eakins gave the home team an early 3-2 lead, Moravia controlled the rest of the opening quarter.  Moravia went on a 9-0 run to lead 11-3 with just over a minute to play in the opening eight minutes. A Mustang 3 by Cami Guiter ended the run. Moravia led 15-8 at the end of one.

Both teams wanted an up-tempo game, and the second quarter was fast-paced. Moravia held a 16-10 advantage when Katelynn Tracy went on a personal 6-0 run to put the visitors up 22-10. Another Guiter 3 kept the Mustangs within seven but Tracy answered with a three-point play to put Moravia back up by 10 at 25-15. The score stayed in the 10-12 point range for the rest of the quarter before Eakins’ basket cut the Moravia halftime lead to 31-23.

“We got off to a poor start and let them really take it to us,” said Mustang coach Dave Mason. “That’s disappointing since I felt like we were ready.”

 Tracy, who has been putting up double-doubles since her freshman year, had 15 points and 11 rebounds at the break.

“I think our team counts on me for that,” said Tracy. “I just try and always work to get open.”

“That's one of the things different about Moravia this year — you can’t just focus on Tracy,” added Mason.

Davis County came roaring out of the halftime and fought back to tie the game at 43 after three. Tracy scored to open the quarter but would be limited to that basket as Shelby Graves led the Mustang comeback. Graves would have 10 points and her two free throws pulled Davis County to within 38-37 at the midway point of the quarter.

One of the big plays of the quarter was when Eakins picked up her fourth foul with five minutes still to play in the third. Kate Birchmier picked up the slack and her basket gave Davis County a 39-38 lead. Brown scored her second basket of the quarter to put the visitors up 40-39. Moravia stretched the lead to 43-39 before Birchmier scored back to back baskets to tie it at the buzzer.

“For the most part, our kids do a good job of knowing where to be on each of our defenses,” said Moravia coach Clint Woodward. “I think our kids feel like it bothers our opponents.”

The up-tempo play picked up even more in the fourth as each team scored more than 20 points in the final eight minutes.

“That’s the way we like it. We haven’t lost when we score 60 points or more,” added Woodward. “We just want to push the ball and have our kids make plays.”

The use of a press by the Mustangs also contributed to the up-tempo quarter. The fact that Moravia could handle the pressure kept the game close all the way to the end. Neither team held a lead of more than four points in the final eight minutes of action. Brown and Autumn McDanel had big quarters for Moravia but Graves’ 15 points led the Mustangs and almost pulled out the victory. Graves hit all four of her 3 attempts. Her first gave DC a 46-45 lead. Her second gave the Mustangs a 50-48 lead with just over four minutes to play in the game.

Moravia used a 6-0 run, ending with McDanel’s basket to lead 54-50.  The final three minutes featured eight points each from Graves and Brown. Graves buried a 3 to tie the game at 56. Brown scored for Moravia to pull them back even at 58. Brown scored again to put Moravia up 60-58 before Graves hit her fourth 3 to give DC a 61-60 lead with two minutes to play. Brown hit one of two at the line to force a tie at 61, but the biggest part of the play was drawing the fifth foul on Eakins with just over a minute to go.

The final two Moravia baskets came on Brown scores inside. McKenzie Smith handled the press and found Brown on the block for the scores.

“In pressure situations, it’s really important to know where she’ll be.” said Smith. “Being a senior makes it easier to handle the situation late in a game.”

After Brown's first score, Graves tied it a 63 with two free throws. The Mustangs would take a 64-63 lead with 20 seconds to play. Then Smith made her second pressure trip up the floor and found Brown down low for tha lead with just 10 seconds to.

“I don’t get too far from the block,” said Brown. “With four fouls I just worked to get position and not foul.”

Davis County’s final possession ended up with a turnover on the way to the basket, but they would steal it right back. The half court heave didn’t connect and the visitors held on to win.

Davis County (10-10) will host Cardinal Monday night. Moravia (17-2) will be off until they open tournament play by hosting Mormon Trail next Thursday night.

Moravia 65, Davis County 64

MOR        15     16  12  22    —    65

DC          8     15  20  21    —    64

MORAVIA (65) — Hannah Eastlick 9, Smith 3, Brown 16, Tracy 19, Jenna Sheehan 6, McDanel 7, Nicole Self 5. Totals 25-59 15-27 65.

3-point goals — 0-2 . Fouled out — none. Rebounds — 48 (Tracy 19). Assists — 17 (Smith 5). Steals — 15 (Sheehan 4). Blocks — 9 (Tracy 6). Total fouls — 19. Turnovers — 28.

DAVIS COUNTY (64) — McKenna Harward 2, Guiter 8, Graves 28, Ally McClure 1, Eakins 17, Birchmier 8 . Totals 20-66 18-28 64.

3-point goals — 6-13 (Graves 4, Guiter 2). Fouled out — Eakins. Rebounds — 41 (Birchmier 11). Assists — 14 (Graves 5). Steals — 10 (Harward 3). Blocks — 6 (Birchmier 2). Total fouls — 19. Turnovers — 20.