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Your World. Your Stories. Everyday.

METEA MEDIA

Your World. Your Stories. Everyday.

METEA MEDIA

Girls’ basketball battles hard despite defeat

Players+battle+for+position+as+a+free+throw+goes+up%2C+aiming+to+secure+the+rebound
Charlie Davidson
Players battle for position as a free throw goes up, aiming to secure the rebound

The Metea Valley Varisty Girls’ Basketball team fought admirably but were ultimately beaten by Kaneland 43-27 in their Monday night matchup. 

Playing without Senior Lucy Burk, the Mustangs knew they would need to have others step up.

“[Burk] is our leading scorer and our starting 2-guard,” Head Coach Keith McIntosh said. “We missed her scoring and it affected our player rotation.”

Both teams started off hot, with a pair of Juniors, Kaneland’s Kendra Brown and Metea’s Arianna Hammons, trading layups and threes to tie it at five all.

But when the game started to turn sloppy, with tons of loose balls and players diving all over the floor, it was Brown who continued to push Kaneland ahead with her outside scoring. The Junior dropped 12 points in the first 5:30 to press the Knights’ lead to 10.

Still, Hammons and the Mustangs wouldn’t go down easy. She chipped in seven first-quarter points and helped Metea scrap together a run to make it a 20-9 ballgame as they headed to the second.

The fast-paced transition-centric game followed the teams through the short intermission, prompting a Metea timeout to settle things down. Once the Mustangs found some control, they seemed to defend even better, forcing turnovers and deep three-point attempts from Brown. Pushing off the defensive effort, the team finally converted some opportunities, with a Sreehi Duggirala putback making it a 20-12 game with 5:21 to play before the half.

Despite keeping Brown under check for the entire quarter, even forcing a lengthy bench stint, the Junior couldn’t be kept off the board forever. In the waning seconds of the half, she crashed the offensive glass and converted the second-chance opportunity with a buzzer-beating jumper, making it a 27-12 ballgame at the break.

Still, the Mustangs remained in the ballgame, primarily thanks to their defensive effort.

“We ran a box & 1 [on Brown] and assigned our best defender, Arainna Hammond, to guard her. It worked out well.” McIntosh said.

For fans of hard-nosed defense, the start of the second half was perfect. The first three minutes of game time produced no points, though many transition opportunities served as costly missed opportunities for the Mustangs.

A scoring drought came over the black and gold, and the Kaneland advantage quickly ballooned to 20 with 3:10 to go in the third. A jump shot from the corner for Metea Senior Aly Shibovich broke the Kaneland run, but the Knights’ Berlyn Ruh responded with a three to thwart the possible momentum swing.

Knowing the Mustangs needed to make a change quickly, coach McIntosh opted to switch to a zone defense.

“Their point guard was causing a lot of problems with her dribble penetration,” McIntosh said. “We went to the zone to make it difficult for her to get into the lane.”

Even as the Mustangs locked in defensively, it just wasn’t their night offensively with many scoring opportunities rimming out.

“[Missed shots] have been a problem for us all season. We’ll continue to shoot and work on shooting like we do every practice,” McIntosh said.

Pouring even more salt into the wound, a Shibovich steal set up a hopeful half-court heave that danced along the rim before finally falling out, cementing the score at 38-21 going to the final period.

The Mustangs continued to show a fight even as things weren’t going their way. Senior Lillie Schotz skied up for a rebound, crashing violently to the ground and getting called for travel in the process. Senior Emma Martin laid a basket with a minute to play, battling hard to the end with her teammates in the loss.

While the team came up short, their effort, especially on the defensive end, was quite admirable, especially without Burk.

“[Burk] is our leader and a four-year varsity player. Not having that for the game is a huge minus for us,” McIntosh said.

The Mustangs (2-14, 0-6) look to a tough battle at the red-hot rival Waubonsie Valley Warriors (21-2, 6-0) awaiting them on Jan. 25.

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About the Contributor
Charlie is on staff for the first time as a sports writer and he is a senior at Metea Valley. He loves following Chicago sports and spending time with family. When not cram studying or writing his next story, he is probably off tracking seven different games at once and questioning each coach’s decisions.

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  • S

    Shawn TimothyJan 25, 2024 at 10:20 am

    “Big time players make big time plays”
    – Bulls Legend Stacey King

    We really missed our big time player…

    Reply