The Muskie senior girls' basketball team has made quite the statement lately.
After dominating at a one-day exhibition tournament in Dryden back on Sept. 21, scoring 50-plus points each game while going a perfect 4-0, the black-and-gold kept that momentum going last Tuesday in NorWOSSA play against the host Kenora Broncos.
Ellie Petsnick was a force from inside, scoring a team-high 28 points to lead the Muskies (1-1) to a 75-35 blowout for their first win of the regular season.
“Ellie finished absolutely everything inside and made a few mid-range shots, as well,” Muskie head coach Gord McCabe noted.
“She was also a tower on defence and rebounded the best she has this year.”
Even the fact Fort High was missing one of its leading scorers in Sarah Larson did little to derail its success.
“Sarah was sick. She contacted me in the morning and said she could not go,” McCabe said.
“And if Sarah is going to miss basketball, she must have been pretty sick,” he mused.
“I am sure she will be back for our next game [against Dryden].”
The Muskies were slated to be in Dryden yesterday to face the Eagles (the outcome wasn't known as of press time), who had beaten them 51-41 in overtime in their NorWOSSA season-opener here back on Sept. 20.
McCabe knew limiting the Eagle guards' offence would be key to success for his squad yesterday.
“We plan to prepare for the Eagles by concentrating on stopping the penetration of their guards,” he remarked.
“We need to shut down their two quick guards and get the ball inside on offence,” McCabe stressed.
“We also have to make sure we get out on their shooters as they are a pretty good shooting team.”
As for last Tuesday's game in Kenora, the Muskies were more than impressive in their romp.
Jamie Spencer chipped in with 20 points while Grace Petsnick added 14.
“Ellie and Jamie were absolutely fantastic," McCabe lauded. ”Jamie had struggled a bit to finish against Dryden but she really got it going against Kenora.
“When Sarah contacted me in the morning that she was sick and couldn't make the trip, I was a bit worried about what might happen if either of them got into foul trouble,” he admitted.
“But we talked briefly about that before the game and they both played really smart, effective defence.”
While Grace Petsnick didn't have the huge game her sister, Ellie, did in terms of points, McCabe said she garnered double-digits in assists.
“She sees the floor so well and gets the ball to the open player with incredible consistency,” he lauded.
"She is also starting to understand how to be effective as the point-person in our zone defence.
“At one point, she had three steals in a span of about 30 seconds,” he recalled.
McCabe also said Taylor Steinke did a great job with her play against Kenora.
“Taylor is a bit under-sized to be playing a post in our offence," he conceded. "But she made some great passes and is learning to play within herself.”
Some of the biggest keys to success last week was the black-and-gold's inside game, which McCabe said they “dominated” in.
“I also thought our perimeter defence was really good, both in man and zone,” he enthused.
“Kenora has some quick, scrappy guards but we really did a good job of matching up and not getting beat 1-on-1.”
While the black-and-gold have seen success in the early going of the season, McCabe cited the importance of continuing to improve as a team in various areas moving forward.
“We were still a little sloppy with the way we handled their [the Broncos'] press,” he admitted.
"We did get a number of easy baskets but we also rushed a bit at times and turned the ball over more than we should.
“We will continue to work on that,” he vowed.