It’s a new Maquoketa Valley girls basketball team on the floor this year, but the more things change, the more they stay the same.
The Wildcats pressed and ran their way to a season-opening 60-19 win over Edgewood-Colesburg in Edgewood, Nov. 26, as freshman Trista Elgin led the way with 17 points, knocking down 4-of-4 three-point shots, and junior point guard Ella Imler added 14.
“I liked our energy and thought we played hard tonight,” said Maquoketa Valley coach Scot Moenck. ”We had some questions about our young kids coming in, but tonight we were aggressive and it always works when you hit some shots.”
Maquoketa Valley, with only one senior on the roster, got off to a sluggish start, and when Ed-Co’s Annie Hoffman drove for a score two minutes in, it was a 3-2 lead for the visitors. The Wildcats then turned up the pressure, forcing 12 Viking turnovers in four minutes to take a 15-2 lead with 2:25 remaining in the opening period, with Imler and Taya Tucker doing the majority of the defensive damage.
Hoffman scored again for Ed-Co to make it 17-4, and Lily Aulwes scored to make 17-6 before a pair of three-pointers from Elgin sandwiched an Imler steal and drive for two to make it 22-6 after one.
“Taya Tucker got us off to a good start,” Moenk said. “Trista’s play was a very nice surprise. We knew she could do it. We’ve been telling her ‘you can’t score if you don’t shoot’ and tonight I was pleased with her. She did some good things and she’s only going to get better.”
The Wildcats forced seven more Ed-Co turnovers to start the second quarter to stretch the advantage to 29-7. Hoffman hit a pair of free throws and Bailee Helle got her only basket of the game to make it 31-11, but that was all the scoring the Vikings did the rest of the quarter as MV took a 42-11 lead to the half.
“I thought we moved the ball well on the break, and we hit open shots,” said Moenck.
Ed-Co outscored the Wildcats in the third period as Hoffman hit two more baskets and Rose Heuchelin got in the scoring column. Carissa Sabers had the only two field goals for MV in the quarter, and it was 47-17 going to the fourth.
Elgin hit two more three-pointers to start the final frame, starting a continuous clock. Relentless pressure from the Wildcats limited Ed-Co to only two points the rest of the way, an Ella Aulwes score with less than a minute to go, as MV raced to a 60-19 win.
“We’re playing some young kids and we’re going to take some lumps along the way. There’s a big learning curve,” added Moenck. “Without Emerson (Wittenbaugh) things are a lot different. It’s important for some other kids to step up.”
The Wildcats made 30-of-82 field goals, including 7-of-19 three-pointers for 37%, and 7-of-18 free throws for 39%.
Ed-Co made 8-of-46 from the field for 17%, going 0-for-8 on three-point shots and making 3-of-8 free throws. Maquoketa Valley won the rebounding battle 40 to 28 and forced 33 Ed-Co turnovers.
“I told the girls after the game it’s going to take some time,” said Ed-Co coach Jenny Lange. “I only have three girls that played solid time on the varsity last year, so we’re still adjusting to the speed of a varsity game. Having Maquoketa Valley the first game we had to adjust to was quite a bit for them.
“We just talked about the things we did well and the things we need to work on. The only thing I was truly disappointed in was the rebounding. I think we played the halfcourt defense OK, it just doesn’t feel that way because of the score. I was happy the way the girls battled to the end.”
Maquoketa Valley’s leaders were: scoring — Trista Elgin 17, Imler, 14, Tucker eight, Sabers five, Anna Deutmeyer four, Caelyn Sands and Kylie Chesnut three, Brooke Elgin, Erin Knipper and Liz McDowell two; rebounds — Tucker 10, Chesnut and Imler seven, Trista Elgin six, Brooke Elgin four, McDowell three, Deutmeyer, Kennedy Rausch and Sands one; assists — Imler six, Sands, Tucker and Brooke Elgin two, Chesnut, Rausch and Knipper one; steals — Tucker six, Imler five, Brooke Elgin four, Chesnut and Rausch two, Sabers, Trista Elgin and Deutmeyer one.
Leading the way for Ed-Co were: scoring — Hoffman 10, Helle three, Ella Aulwes, Lily Aulwes and Heuchelin two; rebounds — Hoffman 14, Lily Aulwes five, Heuchelin and Natalie Wessel three, Ashley Hogan two, Ella Aulwes one; assists — Ella Aulwes two, Lily Aulwes, Heuchelin and Hogan one; steals — Heuchelin four, Helle two, Lily Aulwes, Hoffman, Hogan and Emma Pape one.