A very young Prince of Peace girls basketball team was haunted by turnovers in a 51-26 loss to Lisbon in its home opener Tuesday night.
It was the first game back for the Irish since a 68-27 loss to Easton Valley on the road to open the season.
“We had good effort tonight. I can’t complain about the effort from the girls,” Coach Dave Nelson said. “Execution was the problem tonight. We let their defenses, specifically the three-quarter court press, cause us more grief than it should have.”
One of the biggest problems for Prince of Peace was the number of times it turned the ball over.
“It was a massive number. The turnovers were extremely high. We’re going to continue working on that because it’s going to be an ongoing problem I believe,” Nelson said. “We’re not meeting the ball, and we have people who are too dependent on a couple of ball-handlers.
“From a year ago to today, I’m seeing a lot of improvement,but it’s got to come quicker, and that’s the challenge for this group. They’re playing against older kids, and we’ve accepted that challenge. When the ball gets thrown up, we tell them it’s five-on-five; it doesn’t matter the age or how big their school it: it’s five-on-five. We have to compete and continue to compete hard.”
It took the Irish awhile to adjust to the Lions, who surprised Prince of Peace with some outside success. That included three 3-point baskets in the first half. It was enough to send the Irish into the locker room down 25-12.
The third quarter proved to be a defensive matchup. Each team put up just one free throw in the first three minutes of play. Even with the defensive effort, the Irish couldn’t close in on the Lions’ lead.
Lisbon picked up the scoring at the end of the third quarter and outscored the Irish 23-9 the rest of the way.
“Massive difference in the fourth quarter. We had to gamble,” Nelson said. “Ultimately we had to stop the clock: attack the basket, get some free throws. We were throwing up some bricks, and it’s hard to get back into the game doing that.”
Freshman Isabel Hansen led the Irish with nine points, followed closely by freshman Anabel Blount with eight. The two had a combined 13 made free throws for the Irish.
They also help make up the varsity roster that includes nine freshmen and just one senior. In fact, all five starters for Nelson’s crew were freshman.
“If anybody believed putting as many freshman on the floor as we do was going to be an easy task then they’re crazy,” said Nelson, who is returning to coach the Irish after stepping away in 2013. “This is a tough conference, and we’re going to have to continue to work hard. There were a couple of areas that were just an absolute kick in the teeth, and we didn’t get the job done breaking the press. Subsequently, we ended up in the losing column tonight.”
Nelson said rebounding was the highlight of the game, with a much smaller Irish team keeping up with the Lions. The Irish also stayed out of foul trouble, which they struggled with against Easton Valley last week.
The Irish fall to 0-2 on the season, and will play at Midland this Friday.
“I have a great group of kids and they’re willing to work hard. We’re learning from each other and continuing to practice hard—it will show as the season progresses,” Nelson said. “The effort is there and there is nothing more I can ask for from the kids besides working hard. They’ve committed to being a team that will work hard and they have and we’re going to continue to.”
Clinton girls handle Davenport West
DAVENPORT —The River Queens had no issues on the road, notching one in the win column 60-6.
Head Coach Andy Eberhart said it was a good defensive effort and that everyone contributed.
The River Queens had 11 athletes who put up points. Megan Gaudron led with 11 points, followed by Madison Eberhart with nine and Molly Chapman with eight. The Queens also shot 18-22 from the free-throw line.