It was a game of missed shots and missed opportunities between the Assiniboia Rockets and the Caronport Cougars.
As the teams scored just six points each after the first quarter, it appeared the players and the fans were in for a long night of pickup basketball. Neither team ran an offensive system well and the plays were broken. The end result was a 49-38 win for the Cougars in senior girls basketball action.
“We just didn’t play well,” stated Cougars coach Leigh Wolverton. “I have no idea...we thought we came out prepared, but we didn’t come prepared for this game. It was just scrambled…whoever scrambled the best got the win.”
The Rockets started out with a strong press defensive system that the Cougars had difficulties breaking, but even with the turnovers, they couldn’t score. The lack of scoring from in close, on rebounds and from the foul line sealed the Rockets fate at the Reimer gym in Caronport on Monday evening.
“Especially from the foul line. I’m betting we had 25 foul shots and I bet we made six. In an 11-point game, that is a huge difference,” said Rockets coach Al Wandler. “Even if we made some of them, the score would have been tighter and they would have been more nervous…they were the favourites. When the underdog sticks around, they might get more nervous and miss more shots or take more chances. You never know if it will make a difference.”
The score was 18-13 at the half and both teams took the break to discuss how to increase offensive chances. For the Rockets, the focus was on taking more shots and hopefully sinking those chances.
“In the first half, we only had 23 shots, so we talked about that…that isn’t going to fly, especially with the way we shoot. We had to increase our volume. I’m not sure of our second half stats, but we did increase our volume and that was better,” said Wandler. “If we would have shot more and been aggressive like we were in the second half…I’m not saying we would have won, but we would have been a lot closer.”
Both teams utilized the pressure defense and worked effectively, but the Cougars didn’t anticipate having to use it as often as they did against the Rockets.
“The press was still a scramble for us. We depend a lot on the press, but I didn’t like the fact that we had to press as much as we did, but we had nothing else,” said Wolverton. “We have to regroup now and figure it out.”
Although this game didn’t mean much in terms of the playoffs, this game did hold a lot in the 3A classification rankings. Wandler is hoping this game will spark some confidence in the Rockets for when they face again.
“We will see them, baring some kind of upset in the conference final in two weeks,” he explained. “This game definitely gives us confidence. It was 19 (points) the last time and now 11 (points). I think it will really help us.”