On Dec. 8, Maquoketa Valley’s girls’ basketball team traveled for their first time this season, coming home with a 49-29 win over the River Hawks of Easton Valley. A good defense is a key to winning games and the Wildcats have played tough defense so far this season.

Coach Scot Moenck said, “This was the first road test for our kids so I was really interested to see how we responded. We got off to a great start. We were hitting shots and we were really guarding well.”

Coming out strong is something the girls have done this season and this was the case again against Easton Valley as they outscored the River Hawks 16-3 in the first quarter. Easton Valley came out in the second quarter and outscored the Wildcats 10-8. Holding a 24-13 lead, the Wildcats continued to put the pressure on the River Hawks, outscoring them 12-8 in the third and 13-8 in the fourth. Senior Taya Tucker was a force on the boards grabbing 12 rebounds, while contributing a team-high 15 points, along with three assists.

“A couple of kids got in early foul trouble and we just weren’t patient on offense. Taya Tucker really had a nice game. She was very solid on both ends of the floor all night. Easton Valley did some things that we hadn’t seen before and we really struggled with that. I was very proud of Carissa Sabers and Kennedy Rausch. Both of these kids really stepped up and hit some big shots for us. At the end of the day, our kids weren’t a very well-coached team. I need to do better making sure we are prepared moving forward this season,” said Moenck.

MV’s leaders against Easton Valley were: points — Taya Tucker 15, Carissa Sabers 12, Kylie Chesnut and Ella Imler seven, Kennedy Rausch six, Emerson Whittenbaugh two; assists — Imler six, Tucker three, Kylie Chesnut two; rebounds — Tucker 12, Chesnut seven, Imler and Whittenbaugh four, Sabers and Rausch two, Haley Ronnebaum one; steals — Imler five, Tucker three, Rausch two, Sabers, Whittenbaugh and Ronnebaum one.

A storm blew through the Maquoketa Valley gym Dec. 11 weather-wise and on the court, as the Wildcats were in total command, defeating Cedar Valley Christian, 79-4.

The Wildcats outscored the Huskies 35-0 in the first quarter and held them to only two points going into the half up 60-2. Tucker led the way in the first quarter scoring 14 points. Sabers led the team with 18. The Wildcats were tough on the offensive and defensive boards pulling in 36 rebounds, shooting 46%, and going 10 for 18 for three-pointers, with a 55.6% rate. Defensively the Wildcats had 21 steals. Kylie Chesnut led the team with five. All 14 players got in the game and contributed, with 12 of 14 scoring points.

Moenck said, “I was very pleased that our kids came out focused in this game. We knew going into the game that CVC had been struggling a bit. It was important that we focused on our fundamentals. Sometimes in games like this you can pick up bad habits or do things you wouldn’t normally do in a game. I felt our kids did a very nice job of paying attention to the details. We are shooting the ball very well from the perimeter which will only help us getting the ball inside. We need to do a better job of limiting our turnovers and keeping teams off the glass. In close games that could come back to hurt us. We have a way to go as a team, but I like where we are heading.”

MV’s leaders against Cedar Valley Christian were: points — Sabers 18, Tucker 15, Ella Imler 12, Haley Ronnebaum seven, Emerson Whittenbaugh six, Liz McDowell four, Isabel Imler Kennedy and Rausch three, Caelyn Sands and Paige Winter two, Kaitlyn Nolan one; assists — Ella Imler seven, Whittenbaugh six, Chesnut two, Sabers, Tucker, Sands, Ronnebaum, Kaitlyn Nolan and Winter one; rebounds — Tucker 12, Chesnut seven, Ella Imler and Whittenbaugh four, Sabers and Rausch two, Ronnebaum one; steals — Chesnut five, Tucker four, Ronnebaum three, Ella Imler, Whittenbaugh and Sands two, Sabers and Erin Knipper one; blocks — Tucker and Whittenbaugh one.