The Muskie junior girls' basketball team got off to a great start last Thursday afternoon in their NorWOSSA regular-season opener against the visiting Dryden Eagles.
The offence was clicking and the defence was holding firm as the black-and-gold built a 17-0 lead about midway through the second quarter.
But a lack of attention to detail slowly began to creep in and Dryden cut the deficit to 18-8 by halftime and then 24-17 at the end of the third quarter.
“We dribbled the ball far too much in our half-court offence and need to move the ball more with the pass,” said assistant coach Gord McCabe.
“We also have to be consistent in our effort for the entire game,” he stressed.
“We went up 17-0 and then went totally flat, and at one point Dryden closed the gap to 24-17 at the end of the third quarter,” McCabe noted.
"We just stopped executing.
“But to the girls credit, they did get things back together in the fourth quarter,” he lauded.
Fort High outscored Dryden 17-7 over the final quarter to preserve their first win of the season by a 41-24 score.
Keisha DeBungie scored a team-high 10 points while Anna Gagne chipped in with six.
Cassie Krawchuk, Ayiana Gagne, Aurora Hutton, and Justine Linklater each added four to round out the offence.
“The first game for any junior team at the high school level is always an adventure,” McCabe said.
"The kids are so nervous that sometimes they forget everything they have worked on in practice.
“However, I thought that overall we managed our nerves quite well,” he remarked.
“And [we] really did try to run our offence and execute our fast break, and we got some easy points that way.”
McCabe cited the play of DeBungie in Thursday's game but also felt most of the team fared well in their initial action of the season.
“I thought Keisha DeBungie had a great game," he enthused. ”She has such good shooting form and took good shots.
“Aurora Hutton and Joanna Empey did not have great games offensively but their on-court leadership really helped us,” he added.
As for the Grade 9 players, McCabe said he was impressed with the speed of Gagne and Krawchuk.
“I also liked the overall aggressiveness of Kathryn Fischer, and also saw huge potential in Justine Linklater and Anna Gagne,” he noted.
Fort High was back in NorWOSSA action yesterday in Kenora against the Broncos, with the outcome not known as of press time.
McCabe, meanwhile, said he wouldn't be introducing any new plays to his squad in Monday's practice.
“We only [had] one practice on Monday before heading to Kenora [on] Tuesday, so we won't introduce anything new until after the Kenora game,” he explained.
“I don't know very much about Kenora other than that they beat Dryden pretty handily in their first game,” McCabe added.
“I expect we are going to have to rebound better," he conceded. "And not commit so many turnovers.”
The Muskies then will head to Dryden next Tuesday (Oct. 2) to face the Eagles again.