Taylor Veach

Central Dewitt’s Taylor Veach shoots a three during the Sabers’ game against Clinton earlier this season.

The No. 10 Central DeWitt girls suffered their first loss on Tuesday night, but they’re refocused for whatever comes next.

The Sabers jumped out to a 9-0 start before falling to No. 3 Center Point – Urbana by just two points. It was their first big test of the year, and according to head coach Chad Specht they executed their game plan.

They just fell a little short this time around, with CPU taking the lead in the final seconds.

“I was really proud and happy for all of our girls as the gave great efforts, positive attitudes and worked together as a team on [Tuesday] night – something we strive to do every day,” Specht said. “Yes, it stings to lose that one, but we came away with plenty of growing opportunities.”

They have a quick turnaround before their next big test. No. 2 Marion comes to DeWitt on Friday night, their second top-five ranked opponent in as many games.

Still, they’re refocused and ready to see what they can do.

“The experience we gained [against CPU] is going to help us down the line,” Specht said. “The girls were excited to get back to practice the next day, which is always a good sign.”

The Sabers have been lingering at No. 10 with a fairly easy start to their schedule, just now getting into the thick of things.

Not that they’re watching the rankings. Specht says it’s not something they talk about when they step on the floor for practice.

They certainly have the tools, with a sophomore duo of Allison Meadows and Taylor Veach combining for nearly 35 points per game between the two of them.

The Sabers have allowed the eighth least amount of points in Class 4A this season, a testament to their defense.

It will be a defensive battle on Friday night. With Marion coming to town, their facing the best defensive team in Class 4A, allowing just a little over 30 points per game.

The Sabers will have four players who average in double digits for Marion to worry about, including leading scorer Kayba Laube who averages 21 points per game.

“Good things will come if we stay focused on the present and not worry about the past or future,” Specht said.

Specht cites the team motto: #OnePercent. He says that keeps the team grounded and focused on getting better every day.

The tough stretch of schedule doesn’t scare his young and motivated team.

“As far as a motivation, I believe we have our own internal motivations, both as a group and everyone individually,” Specht said. “What we try to focus on is simply getting better everyday.

“Our schedule is what it is, and again, we look at it as simply as we can — take it one day, one game, one half, one quarter, one possession at a time.”

They match up with No. 12 Maquoketa right after their 4A matchup with Marion, not that they’re looking that far. They still have something to prove before they worry about their next game.

“Every game is an opportunity, and this Friday presents us with another one,” Specht said. “The hype that goes along with who we play provides the team with an easy boost of energy and hopefully community support, but we are definitely excited and ready to play each and every night.”