The Ottumwa Courier

Sports

December 16, 2012

Comets hold off late Panther rally

KNOXVILLE — The Cardinal girls basketball team led by 17 points on three different occasions in the third quarter, but the Comets (3-5) had to hold off a furious Pekin (5-4) rally to down the Panthers, 54-50, in Southeast Iowa SuperConference action Thursday night in Eldon.

Pekin, playing without its top two scorers, played tentative in the opening half. Cardinal forced 16 Panther turnovers in the first two quarters and took a 28-16 lead into intermission.

“I think we spent too much time thinking about how to compensate and not enough time just playing,” said Pekin coach Davis Eidahl.

The visiting Panthers led 6-2 after a three-point play by Gwynne Wright. The Comets used back-to-back 3s by Lindsay Moore and Mattie Kildow to grab the lead. Another Wright basket tied it, but Delaney Ridgeway's two free throws gave the lead to the Comets. Moore scored to give Cardinal the lead at 13-8. The Comet lead was trimmed to three on another Wright basket to close out the quarter.

Pekin scored to open the second, but then the Comets went on a 9-0 run to make the score 22-12 Cardinal. Danae Moses, one of the three freshmen starters for the Comets, started the run with a basket and finished the run with two free throws. In the middle of the run was a strong drive to the basket by Moore that turned into an old-fashioned three-point play.

When Moore wasn’t driving into the heart of the Pekin zone, she was using the diagonal pass to find an open shooter on the baseline.

“We really worked on using the skip pass against their zone.” said Cardinal coach Aaron Dose.

Monica Cooley had consecutive baskets for Pekin, but Moore matched it with two of her own to close out her 15-point first half and give Cardinal a 28-16 lead into the break.

“With teams really working to control Lindsay (Moore), we have put in some special sets to spread the floor.” added Dose. “She does a great job of knowing when to take control and look for her own shot or when to get other players involved.”

Moses’ 3-pointer started the third quarter and the Comet lead had reached 15. Cardinal then stretched the lead to 17 on three different occaisions behind the play of Ridgeway. The young post player had six points and five rebounds in the quarter. She would have a 12 point 15 rebound double-double.

“I try and be quicker than the post players guarding me. I think I need to get every rebound,” said Ridgeway. “Volleyball helped some but mostly it’s my dad pushing me to play every play.”

Cardinal led 44-30 entering the fourth, but the Comets were outscored 20-10 by the visitors as the potential blowout turned into a tight one.

Gwynne and Samantha Wright and Leslie Stone led the Panther charge.

“We switched to man-to-man defense,” said Eidahl. “We also told the girls to take the ball hard to the basket. Those two things seemed to help us get back into the game and nearly pull it out.”

Moore had her final four points of the night early in the quarter to keep the Comet lead at 52-41 with just over three minutes to play.

Samantha Wright’s basket cut the Comet lead to under 10 at 52-43. Stone scored and Gwynne Wright added a free throw and the Comet lead was down to six. Stone scored again, and the score was 52-48 with just 42 seconds remaining. Samantha Wright got a steal and found Gwynne for a score and the lead was at two with 14 seconds to play.

Moore then triggered the play that sealed it for the Comets. Her three-quarter-court pass was caught by Morgan Honomichl, who turned and hit Ridgeway on her way to the basket.

“My role is different this year. I feel like I am the go to person and I know I need to make plays,” said Moore. “It comes natural to me to get everybody involved. Our young players have really improved and now are a big part of what we need to do.”

Cardinal 54, Pekin 50

Pek        10      6  14  20    —    50

Car        13     15  16  10    —    54

Pekin (50) — G. Wright 19, Stone 8, Jessica Horras 1, S. Wright 9, Madelyn Baker 2, Tiana Slaney 2, Beth Atwood 2, Cooley 7. Totals 18-48 13-24 50.

3-point goals — 1-8 (G. Wright). Fouled out — None. Rebounds — 27 (Stone 7). Assists — 7 (S. Wright 4). Steals — 11 (Stone 4). Blocks — 6 (Horras 3). Total fouls — 14. Turnovers — 19.

Cardinal (54) — Moore 23, Ridgeway 12, Kildow 6, Honomichl 2, Lexi Fullenkamp 2, Moses 9. Totals 19-54 11-15 54.

3-point goals — 5-14 (Moore 2, Kildow 2, Moses). Fouled out — Fullenkamp. Rebounds — 35 (Ridgeway 15). Assists — 10 (Moore 5). Steals — 8 (Ridgway 3). Blocks — 2 (Moore, Ridgway). Total fouls — 17. Turnovers — 18.

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