Loss to Dryden tough pill to swallow for Muskie seniors

Jamie Mountain

The Muskie senior girls’ basketball team was late arriving and didn’t get enough warm-up time in ahead of their NorWOSSA league game last Thursday in Dryden.
Add in the fact that the game clock wasn’t working properly and it all led to one whole headache as the Muskies (2-1) lost their first game of the year 38-36 to the Eagles in overtime.
“I would say that if there was one person to blame for the loss to Dryden it would be me,” conceded Muskie coach Gord McCabe.
“We had just about a perfect storm of things go wrong. We were late arriving and got very little warm-up time, their game clock was not working and the minor officials clearly had not been very well trained and had a tough time keeping the score and the time correctly.
“I let those things get to me and it probably was not my best effort as a coach,” he admitted.
McCabe felt as though all of those frustrations magnified in the last 30 seconds of the game when, because he could not see the score from the bench, he actually thought the Muskies were behind by two points when in actual fact they were ahead by two.
“Well … that makes a huge difference in how you are coaching, so this loss is on me,” he reasoned.
“I think the girls would agree that we did not play up to our capabilities and it is possible that we were a bit overconfident, but I was definitely not the calm presence on the bench that they need in a close game.”
Jamie Spencer led the way with an eight-point performance in the loss to Dryden (3-0), while Grace Petsnick added six points.
Keisha DeBungie, Janissa Judson, and Rachel Anderson each netted four points while Bella Ward potted three and Aurora Hutton, Simone Payne, and Joanna Empey each scored a basket.
“As I mentioned, I would like to have those last 30 seconds back. It also hurt that Grace Petsnick fouled out in the fourth quarter, but no one player should make the difference in the game,” McCabe stressed.
“We believe we are a better basketball team than Dryden but maybe a loss like this will be a wake-up call for us.”
The Muskies had gone into Thursday’s game fresh off a much better performance last Tuesday, where they routed the Sioux Lookout Warriors 49-1 in their home-opener at Fort High.
Sioux Lookout (0-3) didn’t score its first point until it got a free throw from a last-second Muskie foul in the fourth quarter.
McCabe felt empathy for the Warriors as some of his teams in the past have suffered blowout losses, which never feels good no matter which side of the result you are on.
“There is no great joy in winning a game like that,” he stressed.
“Although I honestly cannot remember a senior game where a team did not score a field goal. I felt badly for Sioux Lookout.
“I was shocked when they had not scored at halftime but I never expected it to continue until the end,” he remarked.
“We dropped back and played half court defence after the first quarter and in the fourth quarter we switched to a zone, even though the girls who were up from junior had never played this zone before.
“Sioux Lookout was simply overmatched and it was also one of those days when no shots would drop for them,” McCabe reasoned.
“To their credit, they never stopped working hard.”
The Muskies were slated to resume NorWOSSA action this afternoon when they welcomed the Kenora Broncos (1-2) to Fort High for the lone time this season (result unavailable at press time).
Then they’ll head to Thunder Bay for the annual Tiger Fall Classic tournament on Friday and Saturday.
McCabe noted the tourney is one the black-and-gold look forward to competing in every year and the team would be working hard this week to head into it at the top of its game.
“We will talk about the Dryden game a bit at practice on Monday and then put it behind us. We want to get back on track against Beaver Brae on Wednesday so we head into the weekend on a positive note,” he stressed.
“This is a tournament we always look forward to. We play St. Ignatius in our first game in Thunder Bay and we had a really tight game with them at the Lakehead University tournament up until the fourth quarter when they went on a bit of a run.
“They have had our number the last couple of years and it would be nice to beat them and get that monkey off our back” he noted.
“It would also move us to the championship side of the draw where we would get much better games, but regardless of who we play, the key to improving is to play games.
“You can practice and practice, but you learn so much during a game when you aren’t going against your teammate,” McCabe reasoned.