The Minneola Wildcats girls basketball team beat the Moscow Wildcats 41-27 Saturday afternoon.
With the win the team moved to 2-2 overall this season, despite an 0-2 start.
The first quarter was very back-and-forth, with five lead-changes. At the end of it, however, Minneola led 12-9.
In the second quarter, however, Minneola took control of the game, outscoring Moscow 14-5 in the quarter.
“Our senior, Taryn Berger, really really put the team on her shoulders in that first half,” Minneola head coach Morgan McClaren said. “I mean offensively and defensively she was getting on the boards which was good.”
McClaren said the team played well defensively, but not perfectly.
“Defensively as a whole team we were still there,” McClaren said. “It wasn’t our most intense defense but they were going in the right spots, so that’s something you can work with as a coach.”
The second half wasn’t quite as good for Minneola. In the third, Moscow outscored Minneola 5-4, but Minneola still took a 30-19 lead into the fourth. In the final stanza, Minneola outscored Moscow 11-8 to preserve the win.
Throughout the game, Minneola’s players played aggressive defense, forcing Moscow into turnovers frequently and making steals often, but also occasionally missing on an attempted interception of a Moscow pass.
That kind of aggressive defense is what McClaren said she wants to see.
“Defense leads to intensity in my opinion,” McClaren said.
By pushing themselves to play as hard defense as they can, players are rewarded offensively, McClaren said.
“That is what I would like to see out of my team, is good strong defense, because as cliche as it is, defense wins championship,” McClaren said.
The team shot free throws well, particularly early.
“Free throws are huge, and free throws can win or lose you a game,” McClaren said. “We’ve learned that early on this season. I mean we’ve lost by some free throws, and obviously that isn’t the only reason, but they can make a difference in your game.”
Four games in, McClaren said it’s great being 2-2 this season, even if there’s still things the team needs to clean up.
“I told the girls yesterday, and I’ll tell ‘em again today, we still have plenty to work on,” McClaren said. “So you take that win (against Moscow), and you put it in your pocket and you go forward.”
Each game offers a chance for a team to learn, whether the final result ends up being a win or a loss, but the team can fix what it learns it needs to, regardless of what it is, McClaren said. Still, going into next week 2-2 will be good for the Wildcats.
“It’ll be a big confidence-boost, us going in (with) two wins in to the next week,” McClaren said.
The team will next be in action Tuesday in Satanta, Kansas.