Losing is tough and no team ever wants to go through the range of emotions after suffering a defeat.
It's even tougher when you're a basketball team and lose on a buzzer-beater after fighting back from a late seven-point deficit.
But such was the case for the Muskie junior girls' squad last Tuesday in Kenora as Maddi Caron's last-second prayer sailed through the air and into the hoop to lift the host Broncos to a 32-30 victory that handed Fort High (1-1) its first loss of the NorWOSSA season.
“Although we didn't win, I came out of the game feeling pretty good,” Muskie assistant coach Gord McCabe said.
"If you were to count shots at [the basket], we were probably ahead there at least 2-to-1.
“We just didn't finish very well," he conceded. ”About five minutes into the game, we probably should have been ahead 10-0 and it was still scoreless.
“We were pretty bad around the basket for the entire first half,” McCabe reiterated.
“But this is only the girls' second game, their first time playing away, and I thought we got better as the game went on,” he lauded.
“We came back from a 10-point deficit, and if not for a couple of tough breaks in the last minute, [we] very easily could have won.”
The Muskies were slated to be in Dryden yesterday to battle the Eagles for the second time this season (the outcome not known as of press time).
McCabe said that defending, and being aware of, the Eagles' excellent outside shooting ability would be paramount to getting back into the win column.
“The Eagles impressed me in the first game with their outside shooting,” he noted, referring to when the Muskies faced them back on Sept. 20 in the NorWOSSA-opener at home—a 41-24 win for the black-and-gold.
“So we have to make sure that we don't leave their shooters open," he stressed. "Especially since they will be on their home floor, where you always shoot a bit better as you are familiar with the surroundings.”
As for last Tuesday's loss in Kenora, the Muskies dug down deep and mounted a strong comeback attempt after trailing 30-23 in the fourth quarter.
Justine Linklater scored a team-high 10 points while Joanna Empey chipped in with six.
Lauren Penney and Tatum Glowasky netted five points each to round out the offence.
“I thought we rebounded really well and our help defence was much better than in our first game,” McCabe said.
"Beaver Brae had scored almost 60 points against Dryden and we held them to just over half that.
“They are a veteran team with a lot of Grade 10 players," he added. "So we have a bit of catching up to do but I think we will be fine.”
As for players who stood out to him in the loss, McCabe cited the play of Linklater but also was impressed with Glowasky.
“I think Justine Linklater, who is a Grade 9 post player, is really developing," he remarked. ”She is tall, athletic, and has terrific hands.
"She has not played much basketball but she is improving every single practice.
“I also thought Tatum Glowasky showed huge potential," McCabe enthused. ”She has had to miss a few practices lately, for a variety of reasons, but I have been really impressed with her ball-handling and her defence.
“She just has to learn how to work within our offence, and when she is at practice every day, that will come,” he assured.
In the practises leading up to yesterday's tilt against the Eagles, McCabe had some areas in mind that his charges would be working on diligently in order to improve.
“We still are not running our half-court offence with much consistency, but hopefully the girls have got past the excitement of just being on the team and can calm down a bit,” he remarked.
"Some of them, especially the Grade 9s, are so excited when they go on the court that they don't make the wisest decisions.
“That comes with experience,” he reasoned.
“The problem is, with 15 players and such a limited number of games, it is really hard to get everyone that experience,” McCabe conceded.
The Muskies will next be in action again tomorrow (Oct. 4) when they host the Broncos at Fort High.
Then they'll host their home tournament Oct. 12-13.