With the Muskie junior girls’ basketball team showing a strong ability to handle the more simplistic defensive systems in the early going of the season, head coach Gord McCabe decided to make a change.
He elected to go with a new 1-2-2 zone press—much more complicated than most junior teams are accustomed to seeing and the results were confusing.
Confusing for the Muskie juniors that is.
That confusion on defence showed in their 41-25 loss to the Hammarskjold Vikings (Thunder Bay) to open a six-team tournament in Dryden last Friday.
“We had a new press and we didn’t understand it at first,” said McCabe. “When things broke down, we panicked.”
On offence, Jamie Whitecrow led the way with six points.
Still, to the team’s credit, the Muskies learned their defensive assignments much better in the next two games—both decisive victories over Thunder Bay squads—to earn the silver medal.
“We started to pick it up [the new defence]. I just wish our order of games would have been reversed,” McCabe remarked.
Pick it up they did.
First, the juniors cruised to a dominating 51-29 win over St. Pat’s on Friday night, opening up leads of 11-3 after the first quarter and 24-10 at halftime en route to the easy victory.
“The defence worked early and I was pretty happy with the effort,” said McCabe. “We were pretty much in control right from the start. We scored a lot of points off pressure and [we produced] a lot of turnovers.
“We’re not a big team so we like to run and get fast break [points] and we did that,” he added.
Linda Zimmerman and Allison Hyatt paced the Muskies with 10 points apiece.
Then the juniors kept up their strong play in their final game against Fort William Collegiate on Saturday. With both teams tied at 1-1, the winner would take home the silver medal.
And the Muskies rose to the challenge, pumping out a strong defensive effort in a 32-18 win. Danielle McGee was the offensive star, pouring in a game-high 16 points (including 12 in the first quarter alone).
McCabe said he was pleased with McGee’s offensive outburst.
“She looks great, she’s fast, and she can handle the ball well,” he enthused.