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Girls show spurts of greatnes
by Norv and Mary Coblentz · January 15, 2014

The Comets' girls' basketball team started 2014 with some ice-cold shooting, but showed some promise as the first game of the new year progressed. However, they still fell to the North Cedar Knights at West Liberty 73-43 Jan. 4.

"We're not putting it all together right now," West Liberty Head Coach Nick Heath said, "But we have moments. We show flashes. But we've got to put 32 minutes together, not six or 16 minutes."

First Quarter

The Comets did not score until more than six minutes into the game. Maddie Simon was fouled on a shot and made both free throws for a 16-2 score. The Knights turned the ball over; then Kayla Kaalberg drove to the hoop and was fouled. She made both free throws for a 16-4 score.

The Knights scored a basket in the paint; then M. Simon made a layup, assist Cassedi Simon. The Knights turned the ball over on a lane violation and Kyleigh Becker made a three-point basket with less than 20 seconds on the clock for an 18-9 score. The Comets fouled the Knights, but they missed both free throws.

Second Quarter

In the second quarter, Kaalberg drove to the basket for the first score of the quarter. C. Simon got a defensive board, then North Cedar got a steal and a layup. North Cedar got another steal, then Katie Meyer got a defensive rebound.

North Cedar got another steal and layup, then the Comets traveled. A putback basket by the Knights made it 26-11 with 4:52 left in the half.

Haddie Anderson made a three-point basket; then North Cedar scored on a jump shot. Meyer made an outside jump shot for a 28-16 score. Meyer got a steal, then the Knights stole the ball back. After a couple minutes of steals, fouls and turnovers, Kaalberg made a three-point shot with 40 seconds on the clock.

Becker got a defensive rebound, but the Comets turned it over. North Cedar scored another basket for a 30-19 halftime score.

Third Quarter

The Knights outscored the Comets 24-8 in the third quarter. Emma Baker started the second half with a basket. The Knights scored the next 16 points.

Audra Bridenstine got an offensive rebound for the Comets, and Kaalberg hit a three-point basket with 2:40 on the clock for a 46-24 score. The Knights scored on a putback basket then made the second of two free throws.

Bridenstine made a three-point basket with 1:15 left in the quarter. The Knights made a basket and one of two free throws for a 54-27 score at the end of three quarters' play.

Fourth Quarter

The Comets scored the most points of any quarter in the fourth. North Cedar started with the ball, but Meyer got a defensive rebound and Baker made a jump shot. Bridenstine forced a jump ball and possession went to West Liberty. The Comets turned the ball over and North Cedar scored.

Hailey Daufeldt made a putback basket for the Comets, then North Cedar drove to the hoop and scored.

The Knights traveled then got a steal and a putback basket for a 60-31 score. The Comets traveled, Daufeldt got a steal, then the Knights stole the ball back. Daufeldt got a defensive rebound; then the Comets turned the ball over. Anderson got a defensive rebound. Bridenstine made a basket, assist Anderson.

The Knights scored six unanswered points, then Kaalberg made one of two free throws for a 66-34 score. The Knights made a couple of free throws; then Baker made a three-point basket. Anderson got a defensive rebound. Bridenstine scored, assist Anderson, for a 68-39 score. With 58 seconds to go, North Cedar made the second of two free throws.

Anderson made a jump shot; then the Knights scored in the paint. The Comets turned the ball over and North Cedar made a layup. The final points of the game were two points by Kaalberg at the charity stripe for a final score of 73-43.

"We were careless with the basketball," Heath said. "We need to value it a lot more. We've got to play smarter.

"We have moments when we look like a top-tier team. Then we get away from the things we're doing good, and we get careless with the basketball. Or we put our heads down and we don't get back on defense, or we don't box out. We give up a couple points, then we get back into that rhythm.

"We've got to keep those good moments going and feed off of those. When someone makes a good play, we need to keep making some plays and stay in games.

"We shot the ball well, but we didn't have enough shots. We had 37 turnovers. They were pressuring us, but we shot ourselves in the foot."

The North Cedar coach was pleased with how his team played, bouncing back from a one-point loss the previous day. "Finally tonight we shot the ball a little bit better, took care of the ball a little bit better, put a little bit more pressure on the other team, and it paid big dividends," North Cedar Head Coach Jake Wilke said.

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