The United Township girls basketball team will take it any way it can get it as the Panthers beat Moline to stay one game back in their hopes of defending the Western Big 6 Conference title.
The Panthers grinded out a 35-26 win over the Maroons, holding Moline to just 18.8 percent shooting from the field.
It wasn't as though UT (10-7, 4-1 WB6) shot the lights out, hitting just 23 percent. But it was enough to pick up the win.
Only four Panthers even made a basket, as sharp-shooting sophomore Tayler Dobrinske scored a game-high 12 points. The VanWatermeulen sisters, Jen and Jamie, each pulled down 10 rebounds. Jamie added six points and a pair of blocks, and Jen scored five and had four steals.
Fellow senior Katie Daggett added a game-high 11 rebounds.
The Maroons (7-14, 2-3 WB6) got just eight points from their starters who shot 8 percent as a group.
"It was a tough one to watch," Moline coach Steve Ford said. "Their defense was awesome, they really limited us and our shot selection.We didn't have anyone who wanted to step up and shoot with confidence."
Morgan Gerard led Moline with seven points, but she was just 3-for-13 shooting and 1-for-7 from behind the arc. The Maroons as a whole made just 3 of their 24 trey tries.
"I was happy with our defense," UT coach Justin Shiltz said. "Offensively, it was pretty ugly, but we're not giving it back."
The 2-3 zone put on by the Panthers had a hand in the face of every Maroon making it nearly impossible to get good looks.
The offensive stalemate hit full throttle in the second quarter when the teams combined for just nine points.
The Panther defense has limited opponents to 30 points or fewer seven times this season in their 17 games.
The win puts the Panthers just one game back at the midway point of the Western Big 6 season, a game behind the Rocks, whom they will host in two weeks.
"We're trying to prove people wrong," Jamie VanWatermeulen said about the Panthers who graduated 90 percent of their scoring and minutes from last season. "As sophomores, we all played well together and know we can now, too."
The loss drops Moline even further back in the Big 6 race, now fourth, but Ford is confident there can be improvement.
"We've just gotta keep working hard and keep having a great attitude," Ford said. "Scoring can be hot and cold, but there are fundamental things we can do right."
The Maroons' Emily Knight had a trio of pretty passes to set up Maroon scores, and sophomores Hailey Cook, Marley Patrick and Hannah Ford all made contributions, as well as freshman Lexie Gerard. None of them played on the Moline sophs team that doubled up UT in the prelim and moved to 16-2 on the season.
Today is Friday, Dec. 13, the 347th day of 2013. There are 18 days left in the year. 1863 -- 150 years ago: Merry sleigh bells jingle in our streets in the wake of a driving northwest storm of snow and rain. 1888 -- 125 years ago: Thomas Campbell was elected commander of John Buford Post 243, Grand Army of the Republic. 1913 -- 100 years ago: Thomas B. Reidy was named consul of C.W. Hawes Camp No. 1550, and L.H. Eihl was named consul of Camp 29, Modern Woodmen of America. 1938 -- 75 years ago: Rock Island aldermen last night upheld the view of a petition signed by 150 businessmen that the city should not install parking meters. 1963 -- 50 years ago: Total volume during the Christmas mailing season may reach 12 million pieces in Rock Island, according to Rock Island Postmaster Carl J.L. Wessel. 1988 -- 25 years ago: The aromas filling the air at the Rock Island Lines depot in Rock Island soon will be prime rib and roast duck rather than sawdust and plaster. A tourist train will be offering dinner excursions in mid-February or early March, according to Dan Carmody, executive director of the Development Association of Rock Island.