Through an uncharacteristic 7-15 girls' basketball season for the Moline Maroons, Coach Steve Ford knows that their schedule has brought them a lot of tough games with a lot of tough outcomes.
Maybe the toughest to swallow, though, was Thursday night, a 58-49 Western Big 6 Conference loss at Wharton Field House to the Galesburg Silver Streaks.
In particular, the last one minute and 42 seconds of the game.
That was when the Maroons -- who had frustrated Galesburg by getting the better of them on defense and on the boards -- stepped to the line after a technical-foul whistle on the Streaks' leader, Jessica Lieber.
Moline senior Jordan de los Reyes made one of those two free throws. Moline then was fouled on the inbound for two more free ones.
The back end of de los Reyes' shots, though, was the last point the Maroons scored in falling to 2-4 in the WB6.
"It's hard to swallow when you have that opportunity to win and come up short," said Ford. "You expend that much energy and that much fight and it doesn't result in a win."
In fact, the technical wound up more negatively affecting Moline than Lieber. Lieber scored four of Galesburg's last 10 points to finish with a game-high 22.
"When I looked up at the scoreboard at halftime and saw that Lieber had just six points, I felt really good about the defensive effort we had on her," said Ford.
The thing about Lieber, though, is that that's barely a dent in her armor. She also led the Streaks in assists with a pair and steals with five.
"We want the ball in her hands," said Galesburg coach Evan Massey, whose team improves to 14-6, 4-2 in the WB6.
Moline led 28-22 at halftime, however three steals in the first 55 seconds of the second half led to a pair of Lieber 3-pointers that helped put the Streaks up 30-28. Though Galesburg built that lead to 37-32, Moline chipped away until tying the game at 48.
That is when the "T" came, on a loose ball that went out of bounds under Moline's basket. And when the clock started moving again, Moline's point-scoring didn't.
"We're still taking positives away from this," said Ford. "We took steps in a great direction. "We had outstanding efforts by all individuals."
Some were surprising, as in the game-high 11 rebounds by 5-foot-3 guard Kristina Bozickovic. Some were long-awaited, as in the shooting of de los Reyes, who hit five straight field goals in the middle quarters en route to 17 points. And some were all-around stellar, with Morgan Gerard getting 17 points on 7-of-12 shooting and adding eight rebounds to the mix.
Today is Wednesday, Dec. 11, the 345th day of 2013. There are 20 days left in the year. 1863 — 150 years ago: The message of Abraham Lincoln, read in congress yesterday, is published in full in our paper today, with a new proclamation relating the terms upon which states can return to the union. 1888 — 125 years ago: An appropriation has been made by congress for the improvement of the upper Mississippi River with $200,000 set aside for the portion of the river between Keokuk and the mouth of the Illinois River. 1913 — 100 years ago: Work of remodeling First Swedish Lutheran Church at 4th Avenue and 14th Street was nearly completed. 1938 — 75 years ago: An unexplained outbreak of tularemia (rabbit fever) in the state has Illinois public health officials puzzled. Ten persons have died, and 243 are officially reported ill with the infection. 1963 — 50 years ago: A dramatic, multi-million dollar riverfront improvement project for the downtown area of Rock Island was unveiled at a meeting of 200 civic leaders at noon today. 1988 — 25 years ago: For several supporters of the Dispatch Goodfellow/Argus Santa program their donation is a year long project. Emma Pugh and Anne Persinger spent a good part of their spare time this year knitting forty pairs of mittens and slippers.