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|Mooseheart's Angelica Lamas holds the ball against defensive pressure from Hinckley-Big Rock's Lauren Paver (No. 21.)
|Mooseheart senior Rocio Sanchez (left) dribbles past Hinckley-Big Rock's Lexi Gonzalez.
Hinckley, IL Feb. 12 – Mooseheart's participation in this week's Class 1A Hinckley-Big Rock Regional showed how far the Ramblers have progressed – and also how far the team has to go.
One night after Mooseheart gained its first postseason victory since 2008, top-seeded host Hinckley-Big Rock scored the first 12 points, was never seriously troubled, and emerged with a 52-13 victory. The defeat ended a season in which Mooseheart finished 3-18, three more victories than the team managed a year ago.
"We knew coming out they'd be a pretty decent basketball team," Mooseheart coach Bryan Miller said of Hinckley-Big Rock.
By the end of the first quarter, Hinckley-Big Rock led 19-5 and already had enough points to win the game. Kammie Kolb hit the Ramblers' basket in the first quarter while Hannah Tucker hit two free throws and Aishah Adebayo added a free throw of her own.
"Got to give credit to (Royals coach Greg Burks) and his girls," Miller said. "They did a good job playing man-to-man defense. They get after you right away. They're a solid fundamental team."
Mooseheart never mounted a rally. The Ramblers scored on a Nowal Kpartia basket in the second quarter, got baskets by Leslie Ballard, Jade Sanni and Adebayo in the third quarter and did not score in the fourth quarter. Adebayo's three-point effort led the team.
"We've got a lot of offseason work to do," Miller said. "We'll see where that takes us going into next year."
While they struggled offensively, the Ramblers frequently got their hands into the passing lane and forced turnovers.
"That's one of the things we've been talking about with the girls," Miller said. "We told them we had to go out and go after the game, be quick and try to create some turnovers, which we did. We just didn't convert on them like we could have."
One year removed from a season when just seven girls turned out for Mooseheart's girls basketball team, the Ramblers had more than 20 in uniform and fielded both a varsity and a junior-varsity team. Only three seniors – Sanni, Rocio Sanchez and Jen-ni Serrano – graduate.
"We've got a lot of stuff to build on," Miller said. "We're young. The key to our season is this summer. Can we get some girls to stay back and get some experience under their belt and have some one-on-one attention? But we've got some positives to take away from the season."
Mooseheart 5 2 6 0 - 13
Hinckley-Big Rock 19 6 14 13 - 52
Ballard 1 0-0 2
Tucker 0 2-2 2
Kparta 1 0-0 2
Sanchez 0 0-0 0
Kolb 1 0-0 2
Lamas 0 0-0 0
Gamas 0 0-0 0
Sanni 1 0-0 2
Serrano 0 0-0 0
Alade 0 0-0 0
Camacho 0 0-0 0
Barley 0 0-0 0
Adebayo 1 1-2 3
Totals 5 3-4 13