With Amaya Terrell splashing down an early 3-point basket, Midland girls’ basketball fans were hoping to witness another hot-shooting effort from their team who was on the cusp of a Tri-Rivers Conference division lead Tuesday, Dec. 21, in Wyoming.
In the end however, the Eagles’ offensive struggles against visiting Calamus-Wheatland would eventually be their undoing in a tough 51-24 setback at the hands of the Warriors.
“Entering the game, we were excited about playing Cal-Wheat with the possibility of entering the break in first-place on the East side of our conference,” said Midland girls basketball coach Jason Soper. “The Warriors are a talented team with a nice inside-out game with (Addy) Widel and (Kahlie) Hill, amongst others. Execution and finishing shots were going to be huge for us to have success and early on we did a nice job of being aggressive and getting good looks, we just didn’t finish shots.”
Midland (3-6, 2-1), after knotting the score at 3-3 with Terrell’s early trey, saw the visitors go on an 13-1 quarter-ending run to lead 16-4 at the first horn.
The second quarter however, saw the Eagles being to find their groove on the offensive end.
And defensively, too
“I was really pleased with the way we took it to Cal-Wheat’s big and did a nice job of getting her into foul trouble,” Soper said. “While we dug ourselves an early hole and never were able to recover, I was really pleased with the fight the girls showed in the second quarter, but it seemed every time we made a run to get within a couple of possessions, they had an answer.”
A 5-0 Midland run to start the second stanza had the hosts within five points at 16-11 as the Eagle defense held Calamus-Wheatland scoreless for the first four-minutes of the frame before a 10-6 Warrior spurt to close it had the visitors leading 26-17 at the half.
The third quarter, and for most of the remainder of the game would see Midland’s offensive struggles return, as Calamus-Wheatland closed the game on a 25-7 second half run that included a 9-0 spurt over the game’s final eight-minute stretch.
“Our second half was as if the air had been let out of our balloon,” Soper said. “Even though we were disappointed in not performing well and gaining the win, we need to remember it’s a marathon, not a sprint. We did a great job on the boards again, particularly on the offensive glass. We just need to move on from this game and learn from our shortcomings and get ready for an exciting second half of the season.”
Midland battled to a near draw with the tall and talented Warriors on the glass (36-35) with Bailie Uppena leading the way ripping down 13 of them, including a whopping nine off the offensive glass. Allison Paulsen added eight rebounds while Anna Bartels, as she has been doing all winter long, added a huge spark off the Eagle bench scoring a team-high eight points to go with six rebounds, including three offensive boards.
“Anna continues to impress,” Soper said. “She does such a great job catching, particularly in the high post and getting to the rim in a flash. As she continues to grow and develop, she will be a force to be reckoned with.”
Elizabeth Soper added five points while Terrell, Paulsen and Uppena all chipped in scoring three points each.