PREP GIRLS' BASKETBALL: Harris-Lake Park falls to VenturaLAKE PARK, Iowa — For the Harris-Lake Park girls’ basketball team, the regular season didn’t end as one would hope.
LAKE PARK, Iowa — For the Harris-Lake Park girls’ basketball team, the regular season didn’t end as one would hope.
The Wolves finished the season with a 37-22 loss against conference rival Ventura on Tuesday, scoring the second-fewest points they had in any of the 20 games they played this season — their season low came in a 50-17 loss to Emmetsburg on Dec. 12.
But with four sophomores and a freshman in H-LP’s starting lineup, the team was up against some adversity.
“We were making young mistakes out there,” H-LP head coach Jenni Spooner said. “I have confidence in them, but some of them don’t have confidence in themselves yet. But I think that comes with experience. I think that will come with this team eventually, but we just really lack the experience on the floor right now.”
The Wolves commited 26 turnovers on the night, but that wasn’t the lowest point of the game.
After entering halftime down 19-12, H-LP couldn’t manage to score a single point in the third quarter, allowing Ventura to take a 17-point lead (29-12) entering the final eight minutes of play.
From the time Grace Winters scored a bucket with 1:38 to play in the first half to when Noreen Morrow scored with 4:24 left in the game, the Wolves had gone 13-plus minutes without recording a point.
“I’m disappointed in the third quarter. The scoreless quarter,” Spooner said. “We were just dwelling on the mistakes we made. If we traveled, we were worried about making the travel instead of getting the ball up the floor. There were open looks we had, but we let their two top girls on that press just eat us up.”
But the Wolves didn’t let that rough quarter stop them. Morrow racked up 10 points in the fourth quarter — accounting for all of H-LP’s final quarter points — to close the gap slightly and finish the game in a 15-point deficit.
The Wolves were led by Morrow’s 12 points, eight rebounds and two steals. Miranda Brueggeman added six points for H-LP, including the only 3-pointer of the night.
“I told them to finish strong,” Spooner said. “That was kind of our motto for the game tonight. No matter what adversity life throws you, you need to finish strong. For the most part, I think they did that. We made a run there at the end and were still in it.”
Unfortunately for the Wolves, the team was playing without two key starters. Junior Mariah Gath has been out with an injury for “awhile” according to Spooner. Gath averaged 10.8 points per game for H-LP.
Sophomore point guard Macy Gunderson — who played in all 19 games prior to Tuesday for H-LP and averaged 8.5 points per game — sat out for the first time all season with an injury as well.
H-LP didn’t have any other player who had experience playing point guard, so it caused a little bit of chaos and confusion on the court.
Spooner hopes the girls will become more comfortable each game with their new roles on the court.
“No one has ever stepped up to take that role until tonight,” she said. “I’m hoping with a game under their belt they’ll be a little more comfortable.”
Now, the Wolves (7-13) look ahead to district playoffs.
H-LP will take on Clay Central-Everly Thursday. The two teams faced off twice during the regular season with the Wolves taking the first contest 45-28 and CC-E winning 44-37 when the teams met just two weeks ago.
“They have two really good players that we plan on keying in on,” Spooner said. “A lot of our defense will depend on those players. I look for us to cut down our turnovers and really increase the offensive flow.
“But this season, if you throw away the record, I thought we improved a ton in a lot of different areas. We have a lot of young kids, but they’re having fun doing what they’re doing. Halfway through the season they didn’t look at their record and give up. They always persevere. I think this will help build our program for the future knowing that these young girls have already stepped on varsity floors.”
Ventura 9 10 10 8 — 37
H-LP 7 5 0 10 — 22
Ventura (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) Spilman 0-3-0-6, Rayhons 0-7-1-15, Ames 0-3-0-6, Hackbarth 0-1-0-2, Younge 0-0-2-2, Mathews 0-3-0-6. Total 0-17-3-37.
H-LP (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) Morrow 0-3-6-12, Brueggeman 1-1-1-6, Winters 0-1-1-3, Heikens 0-0-1-1. Total 1-5-9-22.
Daily Globe Sports Reporter Jocelyn Syrstad can be reached at 376-7335.