The Moline girls basketball team showed off its trademark hustle to pick up its fourth win in a row in Western Big 6 Conference action on Monday night.
The Maroons (4-3, 4-2 Big 6) held Quincy (3-5, 2-3 Big 6) to just six points in the third quarter while scoring 14 of their own to defeat the Blue Devils 57-42.
The game was a makeup from last week when the Blue Devils faced transportation issues.
Coach Randy Weibel’s team may have lacked size against a Quincy team with four starters taller than the tallest Moline starter, but the Maroons planned against that and made up for a lack of size with effort and energy.
“We went out there and matched their physicality tonight,” Weibel said. “Their rim runner was good and we thought we could wear her out, and to her credit she stuck in there. We had some stretches where we weren’t able to make shots, but we kept the tempo up and extended the lead.
“Of all the games this year, that was the one with our best effort. We just need to execute better on the offensive end.”
A focal point of the Maroons in all aspects of the game is junior guard Caroline Hazen. Most of the time she’s on the court, she is the shortest girl. But Hazen routinely finds ways to affect the game including hustling for rebounds against girls bigger than her.
“I’ve never been a big girl, so I have to fight during every possession,” Hazen said. “I try to bring that hustle to every game for every minute that I’m on the court.”
The Moline soccer star and football kicker finished with only three points, but hauled in six rebounds, had two steals and four assists.
Hazen uses her stamina from soccer training to help out on the basketball court, but that’s not where the similarities between the two sports stop.
“Soccer and basketball are very similar sports in my mind,” Hazen said. “It’s not just the stamina aspect, but using vision to find an open player on the court or on the soccer field.”
The Maroons were led in scoring by Bella Smith's 18 points — and she also added three steals, two rebounds and an assist. The senior was 4-for-8 on 3-pointers, as well. Bralee Trice and Nadi McDowell-Nunn added 16 and 10 points, respectively.
Emily Wilson, the aforementioned rim runner for Quincy, was the Blue Devils leading scorer with 11 points, seven rebounds, and one block, steal and assist. No other Quincy player reached double-digit scoring.
The four-game win streak is nice from the Maroons, but Weibel doesn’t want his girls to stop with just that.
“As hard as our girls play, I’m never disappointed with their effort,” Weibel said. “We’re just now starting to see the rewards from our hard work and they still have a long way they can go.”
The Maroons play next on Friday night at home against United Township for senior night. A game originally scheduled against Alleman for Tuesday was postponed until next week.
Hazen wants to pick up that fifth win in a row not just for the record, but for the senior core as well.
“We wanted to get on a run at this point in the season and keep the energy up,” Hazen said. “The game on Friday is super important to all of us on the team and it should be a good game and hopefully a win for our seniors.”