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Mooseheart senior U-Conjay Nelson (right) prepares to shoot while Rockford Christian Life's Abby Compton moves to defend. Nelson led Mooseheart with 7 points in the game while Compton led all scorers with 16 points.
Mooseheart's Angelica Lamas (right) looks for an open player while Rockford Christian Life's Katie Hart defends. Christian Life defeated Mooseheart 47-12.
Mooseheart's Sia Mahoney moves along the baseline in her team's 47-12 loss to Rockford Christian Life.
Mooseheart's Rebeca Gamez tries to make a pass while Rockford Christian Life's Abby Compton (No. 10) defends.
MOOSEHEART, Jan. 18 – When a game gets away from a team the way Friday's contest slid irretrievably from Mooseheart's girls basketball team, it's sometimes difficult to make a case that the contest was at one time competitive.
But in a contest eventually won 47-12 by visiting Rockford Christian Life, the Lady Ramblers (1-12) trailed only 13-5 after the first quarter and needed only a mini-run to get truly back into the game.
That run obviously never occurred. The Eagles scored the first 12 points of the second quarter and that was the decisive stretch of this matchup. By halftime, Rockford Christian Life stretched its lead to 39-7 and the second half was played to determine the final score, not the victor.
And yet, even through the depths of that second half, the Lady Ramblers kept working to score. In the third quarter, they outscored the Eagles 3-0 – U-Conjay Nelson hit a three-pointer for the only points scored by either team.
"Our girls are mentally tough," Mooseheart coach Bryan Miller said. "We've probably got seven of the strongest girls, mentally, that I've had in a long time. When we get down early, we stay tough and keep playing hard, regardless of what's on the scoreboard."
Mooseheart's roster consists of seven players, meaning the bench is always short. It got shorter on Friday when two players left at halftime to participate in a campus trip to see "The Music Man" at Aurora's Paramount Theatre.
"Our girls withstood it and some of our girls took some shots down the stretch and kind of gritted it out in the last couple of minutes," Miller said. "When you're dealing with the different dynamics of what Mooseheart offers our kids, and the inability for them to be in two places at once – it's just something you have to deal with."
Nelson led Mooseheart with seven points. She scored all five of the Lady Ramblers' second half points. Jen-ni Serrano added three points and Angelica Lamas scored two points for the hosts.
"The intangibles are things you won't see on a scoresheet or in the scorebook or stat sheets for us," Miller said. "It's really difficult to document mental toughness, staying strong and not giving up. Those are the things that these seven girls definitely had."
Abby Compton led Rockford Christian Life with 16 points. Lindzy Keller and Katie Hart scored 13 and 9 points, respectively.
"Our motto and theme this year is 'Relentless,'" Miller said. "That means not fighting to the end, not giving up. It's something we try to carry as a coaching staff – we're going to coach until the final buzzer sounds and we know they're going to play until the final buzzer sounds too."
Mooseheart's postseason pathway became official on Friday. The Ramblers are the No. 5 seed in the Hinckley-Big Rock Regional and face No. 4 seed Paw Paw on Monday, Feb. 4 in a 7:30 p.m. contest.
Mooseheart's next contest is Tuesday, when the Lady Ramblers visit IMSA for a 7 p.m. game.
Rockford Christian Life 47, Mooseheart 12
Rockford Christian Life: Hart 4 0-0 9, Compton 8 0-0 16, Keller 6 1-1 13, Proper 1 0-0 2, Fiorucci 1 0-0 2, Nordheim 1 1-2 4, Jacobs 0 0-0 0, Scott 1 0-0 2. Totals 20 3-5 47.
Mooseheart: Nelson 3 0-2 7, Mahoney 0 0-0 0, Bruce 0 0-0 0, Kolb 0 0-0 0, Lamas 1 0-0 2, Gamez 0 0-0 0, Serrano 1 0-0 3. Totals 5 0-2 12.
Christian Life 13 26 0 8 - 47
Mooseheart 5 2 3 2 - 12
Three-point goals: Hart 1, Nordheim 1, Nelson 1, Serrano 1. Fouled out: None.