COLFAX — The girls of Colfax-Mingo started out hot, but could not keep it going against the Eddyville-Blakesburg Rockets on Monday night. Despite getting 24 points out of senior Nicolette Husson, the Tigerhawks struggled mightily on defense and fell to the Rockets 63-39.
The Tigerhawks came out of the gate looking like a team that was ready to challenge. They scored the game’s first seven points before the Rockets started into their full-court press halfway through the first quarter. Jena Teed drained a three to put the Tigerhawks up 10-5. After that, the teams went back and forth to finish the quarter out with Colfax-Mingo ahead 13-12.
Trouble reared its ugly head for the Tigerhawks yet again, however. The Rockets’ full-court press forced seemingly countless Cofax turnovers in the second quarter. The girls scurried to break the press and continued to throw the ball either to the Rockets or out of bounds, making it nearly impossible to stay in the game. The Rockets played a drive-and-pass game on offense and it started to really flow once their defense stepped up.
"It’s really tough because one turnover turns into two, three, four and we have just got to make sure we break that," C-M coach Brandon Smith said. "Early on we broke it, but then again one turnover turns into a bunch. All of a sudden we’re throwing the ball into the stands, we’re lobbing it up, and once that happens we just lose our shot."
The Rockets knocked down most of their open jumpers in the second quarter and ended the half on a 15 to five run.
“If you look at Eddyville-Blakesburg, they’re a very solid ballclub. Any one of their girls, you can check out their stats, are extremely good shooters,” Smith said. “Coming into tonight, they had two girls hitting over 40 percent plus two more shooting about 35 percent. It’s a struggle for us defensively for us to cover all of that.”
Husson converted an and-one, leaving the Tigerhawks trailing 37-24 at the half.
The second half was more of the same on offense for the Tigerhawks. Despite getting the break to catch their breaths and draw up a strategy to break the Eddyvile press, the girls of Colfax suffered the same fate in the third quarter. They continued to give the ball away on careless offensive possessions.
The more frustrated they became on offense, the more their defense began to break down, along with their effort on the boards. The Rockets piled up points in the paint in the third quarter with sharp inside passing and put-backs on offensive rebounds.
At the end of the third, the Rockets led 52-32. Eddyville piled on a lead that reached 25 points, ultimately riding that lead to the finish.
The biggest problem for the Tigerhawks was simply the number of players they had available compared to Eddyville’s. Once the Rockets went into the press, it was clear that they were able to bring in fresh bodies off the bench while some of the Colfax players were left on the floor gasping for wind.
“With the injuries and the stuff we’ve had this season it’s been tough,” Smith said. “They had a full roster and we just can’t go very deep. We only have nine girls that are able to play. It is tough against a team with a lot of depth and that did seem to wear us down.”
The Tigerhawks open tounament play on Saturday when they host Madrid.
“I am excited about our tournament draw. We are playing teams that are our size and in our conference,” Smith said. “We have been playing a bunch of 3A teams, and we’ll get some 2A schools. So, hopefully we can be successful. We’re on our home floor can come out Saturday we have at least a shot. If we can handle pressure and handle it offensively and keep our poise, then we have a big shot”
Eddyville-Blakesburg 63, Colfax-Mingo 39
E— 12 25 15 11 —63
C— 13 11 8 7 —39
E — Tanner 19, Alexander 16, J. Jensen 6, Moore 6, Busch 6, Allgood 6, M. Jensen 4
C — Husson 24, Teed 9, Fahrney 3, Quick 2, Lahart 1