The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

January 30, 2014

Irish girls drop OT thriller

By Zach James
Assistant Sports Editor

CLINTON — No matter whether it is by two points or by 40 points, a loss is still a loss, and that’s what the Prince of Peace Irish received at home in overtime, 46-44, to Marquette Catholic on Wednesday night.

However, to Irish coach Scott Maddasion, he would take a loss like this rather than one they experienced in their season-opening 40-point loss to North Linn way back in November.

“I’d rather lose a close game in overtime than lose in a blowout,” Maddasion said. “I thought we came out with great effort tonight; I’m not disappointed whatsoever. We had a couple mental mistakes here and there, but that comes in every game.”

Defense was the theme in the first two quarters, and one of the girls who tried to provide a spark for Prince of Peace (7-9) playing hard-nosed defense was senior Hunter Chapman.

“We know exactly what we’re going to get when she steps onto the floor,” Maddasion said. “She is a fierce competitor. We absolutely love having her on this team because she takes those tough defensive assignments head-on.”

Chapman’s assignment was to play tight defense on Mohawks guard Nicole Blum, who scored 11 points.

“I just want to do everything I can to help the team out, and I wanted to shut her down so we could have a better shot to win,” Chapman, who scored four points, said. “I think it did help get everyone going.”

The game was back-and-forth from the opening tip. Marquette led after one quarter, it was tied at 21 at halftime and the Mohawks (9-6) had another one-point lead after three quarters. But, the Irish had a chance to win it at the end of regulation.

Karli Atkinson got a steal near the volleyball line on Marquette’s side of the court and missed a contested shot inside the paint with just seconds to go.

Sydney Laufenberg tried to clean up Atkinson’s miss, but her second-chance opportunity went off the front of the rim, forcing overtime with the score even at 37. The bright spot was the Irish overcame a 37-33 deficit with under a minute remaining in regulation.

Atkinson had to play the final minutes with a big bump on her cheek after getting elbowed trying to go for an offensive rebound.

“It’s basketball; that kind of stuff happens,” she said. “It hurts a little, but I’ll be just fine.”

Atkinson led the Irish with 14 points.

The Mohawks eventually pulled away thanks to second-chance opportunities and forcing stops on the defensive end. The overtime had a lot of parallels with Tuesday night’s Michigan State vs. Iowa game that also entered overtime.

“Screening out is so key, and it has to be from everybody,” Maddasion said. “We did not screen out as well as we had earlier in the game in the fourth quarter and overtime. We gave them two offensive rebounds and then they got a foul, and that was the nail in the coffin.”

The Irish found themselves down four points with under 15 seconds to go in the game when Halee Vicks scored inside the paint, but the Mohawks ran the clock out.

Marquette coach Jim Kettmann was relieved to get a road win, and hand the Irish their first loss in overtime this season.

“We had to hang in there, and play tough,” Kettmann said. “I talked to Coach Maddasion before the game, and they’re a lot like we are. Some nights we look good, and there are some nights we don’t look good at all.

“We’re both working on the same things, I feel like, and we’re pretty much the same team.”

The Irish, meanwhile, know who they will be playing come playoff time (Feb. 13 at home against Lisbon), but Maddasion isn’t thinking about that despite the season winding down.

“Sure, we could lose all of our remaining regular-season games, and still have a shot to get to Des Moines,” Maddasion said. “We’re not worried about that. We want to get better one game at a time, and that’s our focus. My main worry now is Easton Valley on Friday.”

MARQUETTE CATHOLIC 46, PRINCE OF PEACE 44 (OT)

MARQUETTE (9-6) — Nicole Blum 2 7-10 11, Justine Kalmes 0 0-0 0, Carly Jacobs 0 0-0 0, Anna Ambrosy 1 0-0 2, Anne Nolting 1 0-0 2, Tayler Richman 1 0-0 2, Grace Sieverding 1 0-0 2, Blake Banowetz 8 1-1 17, Marissa Schroeder 5 0-2 10. Totals 19 8-16 46.

PRINCE OF PEACE (7-9) — Lauren Pittman 0 0-0 0, Andrea Aquilani 4 0-0 11, Krista Atkinson 0 2-2 2, Hunter Chapman 0 4-4 4, Karli Atkinson 4 6-6 14, Becca Divarco 0 2-5 2, Sydney Laufenberg 2 1-2 5, Halee Vicks 3 0-0 6, Erin Kuehn 0 0-0 0. Totals 13 15-19 44.

Marquette     11     10     6     10     9    —     46

Prince of Peace     10     11     5     11     7     —     44

3-point goals — Prince of Peace 3 (Aquilani 3). Total fouls — Marquette 18, Prince of Peace 14. Fouled out — None.