Muskie hoopsters stay undefeated

Mitch Calvert

Both the Muskie senior and junior girls’ basketball teams improved to 2-0 on the NorWOSSA season with victories over the Kenora Broncos here Monday.
The seniors stretched their lead to 23-13 by the midway point of the fourth quarter, but a late push by the Broncos had them within a three-pointer when the final buzzer sounded, with the Muskies surviving a scare 23-20.
“We lost our cool and threw the ball away, and we’re going to have to work on that,” Muskie coach Ian Simpson said of the near-meltdown.
“We have to work on patience late in the game, and work the clock in our favour,” he stressed.
“Sometimes with young teams when you say, ‘We’re going to hold the ball and wait for a good shot,’ that seems to throw them off their game a little bit until they get some experience and get used to doing it.”
Kayla Windigo had a game-high 11 points, including eight of the Muskies’ 11 in a fourth-quarter barrage by both squads.
The Broncos led 8-7 at the half after a physical but low-scoring opening two quarters.
“We’re still sputtering a bit offensively,” Simpson admitted. “We missed a lot of shots in the first half from right under the basket.”
Neither team could take advantage of ample opportunities from the free-throw line, either, with the Muskies connecting at just a 25 percent clip in the game (3 of 12).
“We’ve got to get that up to about 70 percent and usually by the end of the year we do,” Simpson reasoned. “But we obviously have to better than 25 percent next time.”
Morgan Krueger made a key outside shot late while Sian Donald and Sara Roach also chipped in offensively with four points apiece.
“Any time you hold a team to 20 points, it’s a good defensive effort,” Simpson said.
“Somehow we’ve won four out of five games now with our offensive struggles, so that’s a good start to the season and the girls are coming along well.”
The Muskie juniors, meanwhile, dominated their game from the opening tip-off en route to a 27-12 romp over Kenora.
Eight different players got on the scoresheet, with Grade 9 forward Alanna Walsh leading the charge with eight points.
“The game was won with strong defensive play, keeping Beaver Brae to force their shots from the outside,” Muskie coach Dan Bird noted.
The black-and-gold dominated in the paint with rebounding while all 14 players got time on the court.
“We still have to get some decisive scoring from our three returning guards, [but] I’m not worried about it as I feel that part of our game will come,” Bird said.
“We did miss some great scoring chances, but I liked the scoring chances we had,” he added.