The Minneola Wildcats girls basketball team went 0-2 in the first week of its season, falling to Cunningham last Friday and Sublette on Monday.
The scores were 50-29 and 51-33 respectively.
In the first game, the Wildcats stayed competitive in the first half, trailing by only six points at halftime.
But around middle of the third quarter, the team started to struggle and got into some foul trouble, which caused the team to fall further behind, eventually losing by 21, head coach Morgan McClaren said.
One of the question-marks entering the season was how gritty the team could play and with how much determination they could demonstrate. Friday’s game may not have provided a definite answer, but McClaren said the team showed both.
“They never quit,” McClaren said of her team. “They kept playing even though they were down, they kept giving me everything they had, which is great. The other things are fixable, it’s easier to back a team off than it is to try and get em to go. It’s easier to fix those mistakes than it is to have somebody give you some heart, so I thought that was great for our first game.”
Minneola then played Sublette on Monday in their first game of the Cimarron Invitational tournament out in Cimarron, Kansas.
The both teams played a contested first and second quarter, and the Wildcats entered halftime down just 27-25.
The game against Sublette, just like against Cunningham before it, got away from the Wildcats in the third, a quarter in which Sublette outscored the Wildcats 12-3.
“I think (Sublette) came out of their locker room at halftime and we didn’t,” McClaren said. “We still were doing some little things but we stopped attacking offensively in the second half, unlike the first half (when) we were looking to score and looking to attack and everything but we just didn’t do that in the second half against Sublette.”
Wildcat senior Halie Harrington had a team-high 12 points in the loss.
“She led our team,” McClaren said. “She was looking to attack, definitely in the first half and I mean she’s the rock of our team.”
She wasn’t the only Wildcat with double-digit scoring though. Sophomore Grace Lang scored 10 points as well.
“She came out there and she was being really fiery that whole game,” McClaren said. “She was after every ball and she was looking to score, which was great, so I just really commend her on that.”
Performances like Lang’s are an illustration of some of the initiative young players are taking, even on a team with a pair of seniors, McClaren said.
“Our young girls are stepping up and taking on leadership-roles, which is great,” McClaren said. “Even though we do have seniors, they as sophomores (are) really stepping up to the challenge and I really appreciate that as coach.”
The Wildcats’ next game is against the Bucklin Red Aces at 3 p.m. Friday in the second round of the Cimarron Invitational. The location will be at the Old Gym.