It's a good thing for Moline halftime came when it did.|
The Maroons looked lethargic on offense in the first half Thursday but went into the locker room and came out a different team, grinding their way to a 46-41 Western Big 6 Conference girls' basketball win over Alleman.
The Class 3A state-rated Pioneers held the lead throughout the second and third quarters, and led 36-30 with two minutes left in the third. But that's when 4A Moline put the clamps down and finally made some headway.
The Maroons (2-5, 1-1 WB6) went on a 10-0 run that spanned more than 7 minutes, leapfrogging Alleman in the process. If it wasn't for Karli Anderson's drought-ending 3-pointer, the finish would have been even worse for the Pioneers.
However, Anderson's trey was one of just two baskets for Alleman in the quarter as Moline closed the game by outscoring the visitor 16-5 in the final 10 minutes.
"We still had times in the second half that reminded me of the first half, but we didn't give up," Moline coach Steve Ford said. "At halftime I told them 'we need to be more aggressive.' That was the biggest change, our overall aggressiveness."
Alleman (4-3, 0-2 WB6) was happy to play the faster style of play, matching Moline basket for basket throughout the third, but fouls led to lots of free throws, and a slower style in the final quarter.
Moline went to the line for 17 free throws, making good on enough of them to get the win, although the 14-for-23 shooting probably will be a point of emphasis at practice.
The Pioneers remained winless in the Big 6 but had a nice game from junior Erin Morrisey, who pulled down a game-high 8 rebounds and had a career-high 4 blocks. Anne Bohnert led Alleman again in scoring with 10, but the Pioneers shot just 2-for-10 in the decisive fourth.
"It felt like we were stuck on 36 (points) for 3 days," Alleman coach Jay Hatch said. "We did a ton of good things, just not enough of them to win.
"We had good shots that didn't go down, and then we got tentative. It seemed like Moline got every 50-50 ball and then hit a three."
Moline had a huge game from Becky Lankford, who seemed to be the most inspired Maroon, going 4-for-4 from the field in the second half and leading all scorers with 11 points.
"We just needed to pick up the intensity," Lankford said. "We started playing harder, and the energy level really picked up. Sometimes we just need to remind ourselves to have that kind of intensity right from the start."
Jordan de los Reyes scored 10 points, and Morgan Gerard finished with 7 points and a team-high 7 rebounds as Moline moved back to .500 at 1-1 in the league.
Maroons hang another banner: Before the game, the Moline seniors trotted over to and hooked up another Sweet 16 banner and sent it to the rafters. Last year was Moline's fifth straight sectional championship game appearance.
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