Despite a very contentious, back and forth first half, the Saydel Eagles ran away with a victory in Colfax (2-16) on Thursday. The first half was fast-paced and provided plenty of action despite the fact that both teams got into the bonus early.
The Tigerhawks of Colfax-Mingo came out in the third quarter and just could not get the ball to go in the hoop. The Eagles had an 11-2 run that sunk the Tigerhawks’ hopes of a comeback. Despite a contentious fourth quarter, the final score reflected the second half run by the Eagles, who won 54-41.
The second half collapse was indicative of a season long problem according to coach Brandon Smith.
“We’ve been able to play with a lot of teams for a certain amount of time as far as the minutes go along. All of a sudden we have a lapse and one turnover leads to two, three, four, five and we get revved up," Smith said. "The last couple of games we’ve given up a 20-0 run, a 21-2 run, tonight it was a 23-2 run. We’re playing well. We’re under control. We’re confident, and then boom, we let one turnover get us out of sync and it’s over.”
On the outset, the Tigerhawks looked like they would be almost impossibly tough to score on inside, giving them a huge mental edge. Colfax senior Nicolette Husson had five blocked shots inside in the first half. That forced Saydel to play a more outside game, and on this night, they were connecting with regularity.
“Nicolette has been a returning, two-time all-conference player. She’s our rock inside, offensively and defensively we try to go through her,” Smith said. “She got a little carried away after a couple of her blocks and started picking up fouls. She fouled out but we definitely need her to be aggressive.”
After back-to-back three-pointers by Colfax senior Sydnie Fahrney and junior Jena Teed, Saydel’s sophomore Emma Bowman connected from deep to put the Eagles on top by one halfway through the second quarter. Saydel was able to finish a couple of fast break opportunities to put them on top 30-23 at halftime.
“To start the game we looked up the floor. We cut where to we were supposed to and found openings,” Smith said. “We were successful early on. Then we have a turnover and it just snowballs.”
The second half started sloppily for both teams, with each only managing one bucket in the first three minutes. Saydel’s defense tightened up, and the Tigerhawks were unable to get good looks on offense. The Eagles did not suffer the same problems on their offensive end and got out to a 43-27 lead heading to the fourth. Colfax began to crawl back within single digits, but a three-pointer by Saydel senior Hayley Jensen sunk all hopes of a Tigerhawks’ comeback.
It was a tough loss for the hard luck Tigerhawks. They will try to finish the season strong, but have two games over the next four days. On Friday, they travel to Collins-Maxwell-Baxter and then return home to host Eddyville-Blakesburg on Monday.
“We’ve got a crazy schedule coming up. Our bench isn’t deep,” Smith said. “It’s gonna be hard with these back to back games and stay focused on breaking the press and don’t let it slip away.”