Maquoketa Valley’s girls hoops team had the luxury of opening the 2019 portion of its season against a (then) 1-9 Starmont team. The Jan. 4 matchup was hosted by the Stars, but even that advantage did them no good against the all-state talent of Sam Wall and her ever-focused Wildcat compadres.

Wall’s 17 points paced MV on the day, but there would still be plenty to go around for the talented sophomore trio of Taya Tucker (eight points), Emerson Whittenbaugh (seven) and Ella Imler (five). After the damage was done, the Wildcats (10-2) got on the bus back to Delhi with a 50-12 win – their fourth straight.

The Wildcats scored 14 in the first quarter and 20 in the second, while the Stars could only muster a single point in the entire first half. Starmont (1-10) did what it could after halftime, but their 11 second-half points still trailed MV’s casual 16.

Senior Vanessa Hamlett (seven points, three rebounds, three steals) did her very best to aid her ailing Stars, but her valiant effort would ultimately get lost in a barrage of Wildcat buckets.

“This for sure was a very nice way to start the 2019 season. We moved the ball well offensively and did a very nice job on the boards,” MV head coach Scot Moenck said.

Still, Moenck has been coaching successful teams long enough to avoid being fooled by a massive win over an opponent that is in severe rebuilding mode.

“By looking at the score you would think we were very good defensively, but we still have a ways to go,” Moenck said. “We fouled a lot and gave up way too much dribble drive. We also turned the ball over way too much. We have to be better in those areas or we will get beat. We have a very tough stretch of basketball coming up, and we’ll have to be dialed in.”