By Jon Gremmels Herald Sports Editor
The Clinton Herald
---- — CLINTON — So much for seven being a lucky number.
It certainly was the number the Prince of Peace girls saw on the scoreboard for far too much time Friday night.
After scoring seven of the game's first nine points, the Irish were stuck on seven for almost 6 1/2 minutes. Springville took advantage, scoring 14 consecutive points on the way to a 41-25 win in the opener of a Tri-Rivers Conference girls-boys basketball doubleheader at Central Catholic Auditorium.
"Unfortunately, we got lots of great shots; they were just not falling," Prince of Peace coach Scott Maddasion said. "It was one of those that we were off as a collective group."
The Irish had trouble attacking Springville's 2-3 zone, and having 6-foot sophomore center Sydney Laufenberg in foul trouble hurt, too.
"It can mess with your heads when the outside shots are not falling and the inside is not working," Maddasion said.
There was some good news for Prince of Peace. Senior Karli Atkinson made her season debut, returning from a knee injury she suffered in May. Her entry into the game off the bench received a nice hand from the home crowd.
"It felt great just to be out there again," said Atkinson, the Irish's second-leading scorer a year ago at 9.3 points a game. "I'm a little (rusty), but I'm getting used to it. I'm getting back in shape."
Playing with a brace on her right knee, Atkinson made her presence felt soon after she came in. She stuck in a 17-foot shot from the left wing to give the Irish a 5-0 lead with 4:31 left in the first quarter.
"Karli is a huge part of the team," said Maddasion, who added that Atkinson wasn't expected to return until early January. "The kid is never going to quit. It's refreshing to have a player like that in there. We're all extremely excited to have her back."
Moments later, Atkinson assisted on a basket by Andrea Aquilani, who led Prince of Peace with eight points, and the Irish were up 7-2 with 2:55 remaining in the quarter.
But, as time clicked off the clock and the numbers changed on Springville's side of the scoreboard, the Irish's seven-point total wouldn't budge.
Baskets by Megan Wagaman and Kerrigan Riley brought Springville (3-1) within 7-6 by the end of the quarter, then Daisha Hall took over early in the second. Hall, who led all scorers with 14 points, started finding lanes to the basket and scoring.
"We were getting lost on defense, and they were making the shots that we weren't," Atkinson said.
Hall opened the second-quarter scoring with a runner on the left side to put the Orioles ahead to stay with 6:46 remaining. She drove the right side and scored about 40 seconds later, was fouled on a left baseline drive on the next possession and made a pair of free throws. She added a layup off a steal with 5:29 left to make it 14-7, then Springville scored on another fast break for a 16-7 edge.
Jackie Kokjohn finally ended the run with a free throw at the 4:27 mark, but the Irish (1-5) never got closer than four after that.
"We had difficulty communicating on defense," Maddasion said. "Unfortunately, that translated to lots of easy baskets for them. It was a good job by them waiting and exploiting the defense."
SPRINGVILLE 41, PRINCE OF PEACE 25
SPRINGVILLE (3-1) — Kerrigan Riley 3 0-0 6, Daisha Hall 6 2-3 14, Megan Wagaman 2 0-0 4, Tracy Kilburg 1 1-6 3, Christy Hoogland1 0-0 2, Sarah Matus 2 1-2 5, Madison Wittenburg 2 3-4 7. Totals 17 7-15 41.
PRINCE OF PEACE (1-5) — Lauren Pittman 0 0-0 0, Andrea Aquilani 3 1-1 8, Krista Atkinson 1 0-1 2, Jackie Kokjohn 0 1-2 1, Hunter Chapman 0 0-0 0, Karli Atkinson 3 0-3 6, Sydney Laufenberg 1 2-2 4, Halee Vicks 2 0-0 4, Erin Kuehn 0 0-0 0. Totals 10 4-9 25.
Springville 6 16 11 8 — 41
Prince of Peace 7 9 4 5 — 25
3-point goals — Prince of Peace 1 (Aquilani). Total fouls — Springville 11, Prince of Peace 16. Fouled out — None.