Muskie hoopsters look to build on momentum
Thanks to victories over the Broncos in their regular-season finale here last Thursday, the Muskie girls’ basketball teams are hoping the sweet taste of victory will carry over into the NorWOSSA playoffs tomorrow in Kenora.
Both squads will face different paths in their quest for championship glory, however, with the 7-1 junior Muskies earning a bye straight to the final at 4 p.m.
After dropping their second game of the season to the Broncos back in September, the Muskie juniors have rattled off six-straight wins in league play, with their most recent being a 36-23 triumph over Kenora last Thursday in the friendly confines of the “Fish Tank.”
“I think the girls played well today,” co-coach Alyssa Holliday said afterwards.
“We started off a little slow out there, but we got to set things up more the way that we like to as the game wore on, especially in the second and third quarters,” she noted.
Cassandra Moffitt led the Muskies with a nine-point afternoon.
The juniors actually clinched top spot in the regular-season standings last Tuesday in Dryden, where they earned a convincing 52-26 win over the Eagles.
“We started off slow again, but we started to pick it up in the second half,” co-coach Mike Krueger explained.
“In the second quarter, things started to work for us out there, and the girls were executing what we had talked to us in practice,” he added.
While slow starts are something the coaches hope doesn’t repeat itself in the title game, this past week has been spent on getting everything into tip-top shape in preparation for tomorrow’s contest.
“In practice for this game, we have to work on setting up all of our plays properly, and then being able to stop the outside shots that are coming from the other teams,” noted Moffitt.
“We’re going to be practising for both teams [Dryden or Kenora],” Holliday said.
“The girls have played four games against each of them now this season, so we all know each other pretty well by now,” she reasoned.
As for the senior girls, they won two of their last three regular-season games after getting off to a 0-5 start, including a 28-20 win over the Broncos here last Thursday.
“This definitely helps, confidence-wise, going into the playoffs as this is going to come down right to the wire,” coach Dan Bird stressed.
“Kenora is a good team that plays a good scrappy defence, and they just don’t give up,” he noted.
“In the second half, both teams were very aggressive, and it was a good game for us to claw back and take the lead deep into the fourth quarter.”
Keira Lindgren, who Bird said was a key player to their late charge, led the way with six points.
On Tuesday in Dryden, the senior Muskies stayed close with the host Eagles for most of the game before eventually falling 44-32 to the regular-season champs.
“Dryden went up by nine early on, but we hung around and actually had a two-point lead at halftime,” Bird recalled.
“We started playing some good defence in that second quarter, and the guards were moving the ball well as the forwards were playing up court, which allowed us to get some baskets,” he noted.
Adriane Gurski and Sarah Glover led Fort High with 10 points each.
With a chance to take on the Eagles in the final at 8 p.m. tomorrow up for grabs, the seniors are hoping their recent run of success against Kenora can continue in the semi-final.
“I think that we have to work on keeping the momentum up and not letting it get to our heads,” Alanna Walsh said.
“We are going to run some offensive plays and work on just keeping things safe in our practices this week in order to get ready,” she added.