Muskie court teams split with Eagles

The scoreboard wasn’t blazing, but the result brought about plenty of shining smiles.
The Muskie senior girls’ basketball team’s ferocious defence overshadowed its new pedal-to-the-metal style of offence as they opened the NorWOSSA campaign with a 26-19 win over the defending champion Dryden Eagles there yesterday.
While their high-powered attack wasn’t filling the basket, head coach Darren Johnson said his team’s frontcourt play fell into place as it should.
“With all the long shots we were taking, Dryden wasn’t boxing out and we got a lot of long rebounds,” said Johnson, whose team was on the losing end of last year’s NorWOSSA final to the Eagles.
It was the Muskie defensive stoppers—led by veteran guards Allison Hyatt and Andrea Boileau along with rookie forwards Carley McCormick and Melanie Hyatt—that Johnson pointed to as the difference.
“Carley and Melanie, a couple of 5’7” rookies, beat the heck out of them all night,” enthused Johnson. “They controlled their two six-footers the whole game.”
Kristen Wiedenhoeft—Dryden’s most potent offensive threat—was held to a single point. Her long-legged teammate, Chandra Jordan, scored Dryden’s first four points and then was shut out the rest of the way.
“It was a real good win for us, especially with [veteran forward] Tricia Smith having rolled her ankle in practice the night before and being unable to play,” said Johnson.
Carling Barton and Danielle McGee led the Muskies with six points apiece while Hope Wilson added four.
Meanwhile, the Muskie junior girls’ hoopsters held the lead throughout most of their match against the host Eagles, but then Dryden hit some key shots down the stretch to steal a 22-19 win.
“They outhustled us in the second half,” said Muskie coach Mike Busch.
“We didn’t make some shots we should have made and we didn’t move the ball particularly well.
“I didn’t expect a whole lot for our opening game. It’s better to lose earlier than later in the season,” he reasoned.
Veteran forward Rebecca Cornell paced the black-and-gold with six points, while Ashley Whalen added four.
In junior boys’ volleyball action, the defending NorWOSSA champion Muskies stumbled out of the starting gate but roared back from a two-set deficit to beat host Dryden 3-2 in their best-of-five match yesterday (individual game scores were unavailable by press time).
“We just started to gain a little more confidence and started to focus a little more,” said junior coach Greg Ste. Croix.
“Our serving started to improve, and at times, we were really, really scrappy. That’s what we need on this team.
“There’s a lot of room for improvement from every position,” Ste. Croix added. “But everyone took it upon themselves to step up, and the second-year players provided good leadership.”
But the senior spikers weren’t as fortunate yesterday, getting swept by the host Eagles 25-22, 28-26, and 25-19.
“Dryden had more experience, and their defence was much improved from last year,” said Muskie coach Adrian Chapman.
“I really liked some of what I saw out of our guys, though. On defence, our guys we’re all over the floor—tenfold more than what we were in practice.
“We also had excellent setting.”
The team will try to rebound this weekend at the St. Thomas Aquinas invitational tournament in Kenora.
All four Muskie court teams will play their home-openers this coming Tuesday against the Kenora Broncos.
Senior girls’ basketball (large gym) and junior boys’ volleyball (small gym) take the courts first at 3:30 p.m., with the junior girls and senior boys following immediately afterwards.
In related news, an OFSAA fundraising meeting will be held this Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Fort High.
Funding for the school’s soccer, basketball, volleyball, curling, and badminton programs will be discussed, and all Muskie supporters are welcome.
Those unable to make the meeting but wanting to help out should call Ste. Croix at the school (274-7747).

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