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Mooseheart's U-Conjay Nelson is surrounded by Newark defenders in the first half of Tuesday's Indian Creek Class 1A Regional game.
Mooseheart guard Jen-Ni Serrano mvoes the ball out of reach of Newark's defense in the opening half of the Ramblers' 66-8 defeat by the Lady Norsemen in the Class 1A Indian Creek Regional.
Mooseheart guard Rocio Sanchez dribbles upcourt during the Ramblers' loss to Newark in the opening round of the Indian Creek Class 1A Regional
Feb. 7, SHABBONA – Certainly the warning signs were there that Newark was going to a near-insurmountable obstacle for Mooseheart's girls basketball team in the opening round of the Indian Creek Class 1A Regional.
The Lady Norsemen defeated the Ramblers 72-17 in the regular season finale and entered Tuesday's rematch as the No. 2 seed in the regional.
And with the margin of defeat near-identical in the postseason opener for both teams, the result was the same as Mooseheart bowed out of the postseason following a 66-8 defeat.
“We knew coming into this regional game playing Newark that we were going to have our hands full,” Mooseheart coach Bryan Miller said. “But everyone got to play and everyone got experience. I think, in the end, that will benefit our girls.”
While Newark was dominant throughout the contest, the manner in which they took control from the opening tip-off was the key to the eventual comfortable victory. While Mooseheart had the game tied at 2-2, the Lady Norsemen scored the next 27 points in a run that extended 90 seconds into the second quarter. By that point, with a 29-2 lead, Newark was in complete command.
“We were missing some of our team players and ballhandling was very evident as a problem for us,” Miller said. “Newark exposed that very well trapping us and made that a big issue for us. And they capitalized on it. You've got to give them credit. They took advantage of our weaknesses and made it their strength.”
Due to a variety of situations, Mooseheart's roster went through a very extreme makeover through the season. Becca Stryker, a starter since the opening game, scored all 8 of the Ramblers' points.
“Going into the season, we knew we had lost a lot of talent from last year,” Miller said. “This was a season of learning off the court for our team as much as it was a season for learning on the court. That was evident in our season record and in our conference play as well. Off the court learning was a major learning curve for us this year.”
Newark was led in scoring by Abbey Akre, who came off the bench to score 13 points. Starter Taylor Rehberg scored 11 points on a night when 12 Lady Norsemen scored.
Mooseheart graduates two seniors from its postseason roster – Meagan Henderson and Arranda Patton. The rest of the lineup returns.
“Our core group is coming back next year,” Miller said. “You want to hope for the best and that's something we will do, given what we learned off the court. We hope things will be better next year.”
The disparity in basketball game play was another difference between the teams. Miller said opportunities will be presented to the team to improve in that area before the start of the 2012-13 season.
“We try to give our girls some opportunities in the summer to play some summer league ball,” Miller said. “We want to give them some recreation opportunities to help them maintain and better their basketball skills. That's our hope, that they pick up a ball at some point before next season.”
Newark 66, Mooseheart 8
Mooseheart: Patton 0 0-2 0, Nelson 0 0-0 0, Sanchez 0 0-0 0, Stryker 4 0-0 8, Hart 0 0-0 0, Henderson 0 0-2 0, Tejeda 0 0-0 0, Serrano 0 0-0 0, Ledke 0 0-0 0. Totals 4 0-4 8.
Newark: Schmidt 1 0-0 3, McNanna 1 0-0 2, Krug 2 0-0 4, Akre 3 4-4 13, Tollefson 2 0-0 5, Lawrence 2 1-2 5, Zitt 2 0-0 4, Rehberg 5 1-2 11, Patrick 3 0-0 7, Myre 3 0-0 6, Larson 1 0-0 2, Milakis 2 0-0 4. Totals 27 6-8 66.
Mooseheart 2 4 2 0 - 8
Newark 23 14 15 14 - 66
3-point goals: Mooseheart: None. Newark: Schmidt 1, Akre 3, Tollefson 1, Patrick 1.