The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Sports

December 27, 2012

Erie girls coach concerned about effort in loss

ERIE, Ill. — Sometimes which team wins a basketball game comes down to desire.

Erie girls basketball coach Brian Howell wasn't pleased with what he saw from his team on that front Wednesday afternoon as the Cardinals lost 47-30 to Rockridge at the Warkins Cardinal Classic.

"Our effort was horrendous," Howell said. "We acted like we didn't want to be here. Hats off to Rockridge. They played really hard. Bottom line: They wanted it; we didn't."

Erie played well enough to win defensively, forcing 25 turnovers and holding the Rockets under 50 percent shooting, but the offense was another story.

"If we play that good of defense and force that many turnovers, we're expecting to win," Howell said. "The scoreboard should have been reversed. But on the other end, when we don't want to take care of the basketball and we want to go through the motions, that's going to happen."

The Cardinals turned the ball over 27 times and shot 9-of-41 (22 percent) from the field. It took Erie more than six minutes to score its first field goal of the game. During that time, Erie missed seven shots, turned the ball over six times and trailed 7-2.

Rockridge stretched its lead to 14-6 early in the second quarter, but then Erie seemed as if it might turn things around.

Junior Bailee Classen came in off the bench for Erie. Despite being one of the shortest players on the court at 5-feet, 5-inches tall, she promptly grabbed an offensive rebound and drilled a 3-pointer later on that possession. After forcing a Rockridge turnover and then trading misses, Classen nailed a jumper to pull the Cardinals to within three.

"She did a nice job offensively," Howell said. "What's holding her back is she missed a year; she didn't play as a sophomore. She gave us a nice little spark. She's getting better each game, the more she's playing, so that is a positive. She gave us a nice spark Saturday, too. It's getting there, but it's a work in progress. She knows it, too. But she's getting more and more consistent. Bailee was a nice surprise. I was really happy to see that from her."

Miranda Potter, who scored a game-high 15, hit a jumper to put the Rockets ahead by five. Erie turned the ball over, but then Laykin Miner stole the ball from Rockridge and passed it ahead to Paige Rus for a fast-break layup.

But, after cutting the deficit to three once again, things fell apart for Erie. Rockridge answered with a 9-0 run.

"We got complacent," Howell said. "We made a run and thought, 'OK, this is going to be easy.' Then we got sloppy and careless. Our effort started falling off. They kept looking for somebody else to do it, instead of doing it themselves. It's just aggravating."

Erie never got closer than nine after halftime.

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