Juniors hoopsters suffer first loss of season

Jamie Mountain

The streak had to end sometime–even if it came against a league rival.
The Muskie junior girls’ basketball team saw their five-game winning streak to start the NorWOSSA season come to a halt with a 26-18 loss to the visiting Dryden Eagles last Tuesday afternoon here.
Fort High’s record now sits at 5-1 heading into this afternoon’s showdown against the Broncos (1-4) in Kenora, with that outcome not available as of press time.
“I don’t want to make excuses but I did think the girls looked a bit tired,” said Muskie coach Gord McCabe last Wednesday, whose team had gone into that one after a late night travelling back to Fort Frances after a win over the host Sioux Lookout Warriors (0-5) last Monday.
“Everything we did was just a bit off, especially our shooting. We probably had twice as many shot attempts as Dryden did, but absolutely nothing was dropping. “To their credit, Dryden shot the ball very well,” he lauded of the Eagles.
The Muskies trailed the Eagles (5-1) just 12-9 at halftime despite a slow start before Dryden pulled away in the second half for the win.
Ayiana Gagne, who scored a season-high 16 points in a 47-37 win over the Warriors last Monday, led the black-and-gold in scoring for the second game in as many days with six points against the Eagles.
Grace Smith added four points while Serena Teeple, Anna Gagne, Heaven States, and Joyce Wu each scored a basket in the loss.
“I thought that even when we were down, we never gave up,” McCabe lauded.
“I was a bit hard on the girls during the game about their lack of execution but they remained focused on what we were trying to do. . .we just were having one of those days where we were having a tough time doing it.
“Surrendering 26 points is a pretty solid defensive effort to a team that–like us– has only lost one league game,” he reasoned.
“However, you are not going to win many basketball games only scoring 18 points. We will have to shoot the ball much better and we did not generate many fast break points or layups off steals, which has been one of our big strengths all season.”
Heading into today’s game in Kenora, and moving forward in the second half of the NorWOSSA season, McCabe felt it would be paramount for the Muskies to improve their physicality in order to have continued success.
He feels as though his players are very aggressive in the open court, but don’t seem to have that same aggressiveness when they are rebounding.
“We are not tall, so we have to be extra tough,” McCabe stressed.
“I think Joyce Wu might very well have been our leading rebounder yesterday. Joyce is the shortest player on the team, but because she is so aggressive going after the ball, she plays far above her height.
“We need more of our girls to be doing that,” he urged.
The Muskies’ next league game is slated for next Wednesday (Oct. 23) when they welcome the Eagles to Fort High once again.