By Dan Angell For the Herald
The Clinton Herald
---- — BETTENDORF — As the first quarter neared its end in Clinton’s 80-36 loss to Bettendorf, it appeared that the River Queens had survived a difficult start to pull themselves into the contest.
Clinton had trailed for the entire opening frame, but it was starting to work the ball into the paint against the Bulldog defense and had cut Bettendorf’s lead to three points. Plus, the River Queens appeared to have the personnel advantage, as Bettendorf forward Sarah Flynn was on the bench with two quick fouls.
Then, Bettendorf junior Ally Scott closed the quarter with a basket and a foul, and all of a sudden, the game turned.
As the River Queens watched shot after shot bounce off the rim, the Bulldogs seemed to hit everything. Over a seven-minute span, Bettendorf outscored Clinton 28-1 and turned a battle into a rout. By the time McKenzie Petersen finally ended the drought with the Queens’ only basket of the second quarter, the Bulldogs’ lead had reached 30 and the game was a foregone conclusion, with Clinton taking its second loss in the Mississippi Athletic Conference on Tuesday night at Bettendorf High School.
“We had a lot of things not go our way,” Clinton coach Mike Halac said. “We had a lot of great opportunities inside, but we just didn’t get the rolls. They did an exceptional job and shot 24-for-39 in the game. That’s a great percentage. I thought (Elizabeth) Finn played really well, and so did Scott and (Ashton) Glaus, their three big guns.”
The Bulldogs’ trio combined for 49 points, 36 of them coming during the onslaught in the first half. Finn led the way with 22 points, while Glaus had 14, Scott added 13 and Kaley Sortillo gave Bettendorf (3-1, 2-0 MAC) some extra help with 14 points. Petersen ended up leading the River Queens (1-4, 0-2) with 13 points, while Erin Wenzel had 11, but nobody in a red jersey could get the ball to fall through the hoop with any consistency.
“Our shots just weren’t falling tonight,” Wenzel said. “We were pounding it inside and trying to get the easy buckets, but things just weren’t falling. Tonight wasn’t our night.”
It was Bettendorf who ended up getting the easy buckets, whether it was through open shots from one of their top scorers or from a Clinton turnover when the River Queens tried to push too hard in an effort to overcome the massive deficit. The one thing that pleased Halac was that the River Queens kept fighting until the final whistle, even after losing senior guard Jordan Nelson to a leg injury in the third quarter.
“These girls want to succeed and play hard,” Halac said. “They want to do the right things, it’s just me doing a better job with X’s and O’s and getting them prepared. We had them scouted well, we thought, but we’ve got to do a better job as a coaching staff of getting ready.
“That second quarter just exploded, and it took the wind out of our sail.”
It left the River Queens more than eager to move past Tuesday night and shift their focus to their next league opportunity on Friday against North Scott. However, even as they turned their attention toward the Lancers, both Wenzel and Halac admitted that the River Queens will be motivated to redeem themselves in a month when they get another shot at Bettendorf.
“We always look one game at a time, but I don’t forget games like this,” Halac said. “We will be better prepared next time.”
BETTENDORF 80, CLINTON 36
CLINTON (1-4, 0-2) — Halle Davis 1 0-0 2, Erin Wenzel 5 1-4 11, Elle Tubbs 2 1-2 6, Jordan Nelson 1 2-5 4, McKenzie Petersen 4 4-6 13. Totals 13 8-17 36
BETTENDORF (3-1, 2-0) — Paige Wagner 2 0-0 4, Taylor Van Zuiden 3 0-0 6, Elizabeth Finn 9 1-1 22, Ally Scott 5 1-1 13, Emily Hatch 2 0-0 5, Kaley Sortillo 6 0-1 14, Ashton Glaus 4 6-8 14, DoniRae Mayhew 1 0-0 2. Totals 32 8-11 80.
Clinton 12 4 10 10 — 36
Bettendorf 18 29 24 9 — 80
3-point goals — Clinton 2 (Tubbs, Petersen), Bettendorf 8 (Finn 3, Scott 2, Sortillo 2, Hatch).