Maquoketa Valley’s girls’ basketball team defeated Central City, 57-40, Feb. 1.
Ella Imler had a team-high 24 points, going 9-of-12 from the line.
Like in their previous match-up, this was another physical battle as both teams were playing solid on both ends of the court.
Imler and Taya Tucker both penetrated the lane for easy shots which led to a 9-7 lead after one.
In the second, Whittenbaugh went down hard, but came back a couple of minutes later urging coach Scot Moenck to put her back in the game. With 1.2 seconds left in the half, Imler slipped between two Central City defenders and was fouled driving the lane. After making both free throws the Wildcats had a 28-17 lead.
In the third Imler continued to have the hot hand hitting two three-pointers midway through giving the Wildcats a comfortable 43-27 lead. On their last possession in the third, Tucker grabbed the rebound after a Carissa Sabers miss and put it in for two giving the Wildcats a 45-29 lead. Both teams played well in the fourth with MV taking a slim 12-11 advantage. Clutch free throws from Imler in the final minutes of the game sealed the win.
“This wasn’t one of our best games of the year,” Moenck said. “We weren’t as disciplined as we have been since Christmas. We have to be better or we will get beat in tournament time. We did some nice things throughout the game. We just need to be more consistent on both ends of the floor. I felt we were good at times on defense but at other times were very undisciplined. Central City is much improved from a year ago and has a couple of kids that can hurt you because they shoot it well but some of those kids getting good looks was on us. We work to continue to improve down the stretch.”
MV’s leaders against Central City were: points — Imler 24, Whittenbaugh 13, Tucker nine, Kennedy Rausch six, Kylie Chestnut four, Sabers one; assists — Tucker four, Imler, Rausch, Sabers one; rebounds — Tucker 11, Whittenbaugh six, Sabers five, Imler three, Chestnut, Rausch one; steals — Tucker, Sabers, Imler, Whittenbaugh three, Chesnut one; blocks — Sabers one.
On Feb. 2 Starmont found out quickly why MV is ranked No. 1 in the state. The Wildcats did not allow the Stars to put a point on the board until the 1:36 mark left in the second quarter taking a 47-2 lead into the half. Tucker had five of the team’s 13 steals.
From the opening whistle, the Wildcats were clicking on all cylinders resulting in a 69-6 win on Senior Night. The threes were falling for the team from the opening whistle as they went 14-of-26 from beyond the arc, with Sabers a team-high 4-of-5. Whittenbaugh led the team with 18 points going 8-of-10 from the field and 2-of-3 from the three-point line. Sophomore Erin Knepper grabbed five rebounds.
Imler drained a three and was greeted with applause as she headed to the bench to begin the third. Next to get senior appreciation was Tucker and then Whittenbaugh after she sank a deep three at the three-minute mark. All three seniors came out to begin the fourth for a standing ovation. At that point, Moenck made sure all his girls got playing time before the final whistle blew.
“I was very proud of the kids today,” Moenck said. “This was a special night because we got to honor four amazing seniors and their families. Senior night is always emotional so for our kids to stay dialed in this game is a credit to them.
We knew if we won this game, we would win the conference outright and that was one of their goals. This is by far the best we have shot the ball all year hitting 14 three-point shots. The awesome thing about our scoring is that we only had two girls score in double figures. So many kids stepped up in this game on both ends of the floor. Tournament time is just around the corner so we need to make sure we’re improving on the things we need to improve on.”
Leading MV against Starmont were: points — Whittenbaugh 18, Sabers 12, Rausch nine, Tucker eight, Imler six, Chestnut five, Knepper, Haley Ronnebaum three, Liz McDowell, Caelyn Sands two; assists — Rausch, Imler five, Chestnut three, Whittenbaugh, Sands, Sabers, Ronnebaum, Tucker one; rebounds — Knipper, Sabers five, Imler, Tucker four, Chestnut, Whittenbaugh three, Paige Winter, Ronnebaum two, Rausch, Mensen one; steals — Tucker five, Imler three, Chestnut two, Whittenbaugh, Sabers, Ronnebaum one.