CLINTON – The Clinton High School girls basketball team ended a Mississippi Athletic Conference matchup with Muscatine the way it started, as a solemn shooting performance reared its head at a pair of costly moments.
After failing to score in the opening five minutes of the contest, the River Queens only mustered two points in a decisive fourth quarter to fall 36-23 Friday night at Yourd Gymnasium.
Clinton coach Stacy Clark was ready to look forward to next week after watching her team's offensive woes lead to the lowest point total so far this season, as the previous low score was 35 points in a loss to a ranked North Scott program on Nov. 29.
"That was clearly not our game and I think part of it was that we got tired," Clark said. "We just have to get ready for the next one... they slowed it down on us and that was different for us but our shots just weren't falling."
After Marissa Fullick gave Clinton its first lead of the game with an and-one layup to take a 23-22 advantage with 6:41 remaining in regulation, the River Queens failed to convert on their final six attempts of the game while also missing four free throws down the stretch.
The Muskies made a priority of Clinton's leading scorer Megan Gandrup, who entered the contest averaging 12.5 points, by following the senior's every off-ball move while applying added pressure when she had possession to force an uncharacteristic two-point outing.
"Them face guarding Gandrup threw us off a little and we couldn't find a rhythm at all in the fourth quarter," Clark said.
Muscatine's 6-foot forward Alicia Garcia proved to be a challenge on both sides of the ball, recording numerous blocks on Clinton's smaller post players while also netting 12 points in the winning effort.
"She did a good job of playing defense and when you are that tall and that long, it is intimidating for anybody," Clark said. "She timed a lot of blocks really well and that was part of the adjustment that we had a hard time figuring out.
Molly Chapman led the team with seven points while Macy Mulholland added six.
The loss drops Clinton to 2-3 on the season and extends its losing streak to three games after opening the campaign with consecutive victories.
The River Queens will travel to Davenport Central on Tuesday.