Neither team in Don Morris Gymnasium wanted to give up when things weren’t going their way on Thursday night, but it was the Moline girls who came out with the win in their battle against Alleman.
The Maroons held a 13-point lead at halftime before the Pioneers came charging out of the gate in the third quarter, holding the Maroons to just three points in the period. Moline held off the surging Pioneers in the fourth for a 50-44 win against their Western Big 6 girls basketball conference rivals.
Bralee Trice led the way for the Maroons with 20 points, including a 3 at the end of the first quarter that had the senior join the 1,000 career point club. Trice hit 5-of-6 from the free throw line in the game including 3-of-4 in the final quarter to help hold off the Alleman comeback.
That level of production from Trice is something Moline coach Randy Weibel counts on every night, and she was just the girl he wanted to see at the line in the closing minutes for the Maroons.
“She’s who we want out on the line, and she’s a D1 caliber athlete for a reason,” Weibel said. “She really takes that upon herself to help guide us at the end of games and she has a bright future ahead of her, especially if she can knock down 3s at the next level.”
Trice relishes the moments that she can be a crucial player for her team late in the game, and tonight was no exception.
“The major thing late in games for me is just to keep my focus and capitalize on what they’re giving me,” Trice said. “I might be tired, but I never want that to mess with my focus.”
The late charge from the Pioneers was something that coach Steve Ford loves seeing from his team, as is the progress his girls have been making.
“The goal is just to get better every game, and our girls are starting to believe in themselves and continue to battle with some of the better teams in the conference,” Ford said. “They didn't back down from a challenging Moline defense, and although we didn’t come away with the win tonight, those wins will come eventually.”
The Pioneers were led by Averi Rangel who knocked down four 3-pointers in the game for 12 points to go with two steals and two assists.
“When we play teams that are good, like every team in this conference, our girls gain confidence, and that’s really important to our program,” Ford said. “It helps them understand what they have to do every game to succeed.”
The Pioneers fall to 1-7 overall and 0-6 in the conference. Moline moves to 6-6 overall and 6-4 in the conference, just a game and a half back of Western Big 6 leaders Rock Island and Geneseo.
The 1,000-point mark was a culmination of every bucket put up in practice and warmups over the duration of Trice’s career.