by Mary Kate Bandstra / firstname.lastname@example.org
Playing smart, staying humble, and being hungry is leading the PC girl’s basketball team into the second half of the season. Throughout the season, the team has been working on executing pressured defense and well run offense.
A record of 10-8 keeps the morale high, but there is always room for improvement. “We always work on improving our defense. When we play solid defense, without gambling, and make sure we are in proper positions, we can give stir up their offense. Once we get our defense going, our offense starts to click. Then, we can really play ball,” said coach Kevin Van Maanen.
Conference games have taken a toll on the Eagles with losses to Pella, DCG, Indianola, and Grinnell. During these losses, however, the team saw stretches of victory with scrappy defense and executed game plans. After playing Grinnell, ranked third in 3A, to a score of 44-58, the girls and coach Van Maanen saw progress and potential in the loss. “We played hard and we played well,” Van Maanen said. “We got a little stagnate in the fourth quarter. The mental side of their pressure took effect, and we were not as sharp defensively. We need to take care of the basketball and finish through all four quarters.”
Getting the chance to play each team again in the second half of the season is an opportunity to display mental and physical toughness. “Playing these conference teams close gives us a taste of what future teams might look like when we get to the playoffs. In the end, it helps us,” commented junior Mo Fopma.
Injuries and sickness have also caused some difficulties, but each day the teams shows up and competes. Pulling JV girls up in practice increases the varsity numbers, and allows 5-on-5 action to happen in practice. Freshmen and sophomores coming off the bench have also made a noticeable difference. “These younger girls stepping up give us more depth, which is useful in practice and games,” said Fopma. As the season comes to a close, the girls look forward to post season play. Pekin and Grundy Center are ranked teams in the Eagle’s district.
Last Friday, January 26, the Eagles played at Norwalk and lost 37-46. Shots were not falling, and defense was lacking. The next game is tonight at home vs Indianola at 6:00. The homecoming game is this Friday, February 2, at home vs Grinnell.