I would imagine there are no easy ways to lose a game. Blowout, close one, something in between, I'm guessing they all sting pretty badly. Two of my favorite teams each lost Saturday in two entirely different ways: the NCAA Division II women's team at Glenville State lost on a free throw with essentially no time left (0.4 seconds), while the girls' team at Galesburg (Ill.) HS gamely stayed with the second-ranked team in its state before losing by a large margin.
Fans are prone to disappointment when their teams lose, and I'm no different, yet as North Carolina coach Roy Williams is fond of saying, what do I have invested? I have no doubt that Glenville State and Galesburg have much better days ahead.
In Millersville, Pa., the Pioneers coached by Bunky Harkleroad lost 80-79 when Domonique Stroman made the second of two free throws literally in the final second to give the Millersville Marauders the victory in the second day of their annual Tip-Off Tournament.
Beth Deren came off the bench to lead a balanced attack for Glenville State with 15 points, with Danielle Woodmore (14), Tenisha Wilson (12) and Autumn Davis (11) also in double figures. Woodmore added four rebounds, eight assists a four steals in a nice effort.
Turnovers continue to plague the Pioneers -- they had 28 in this game to only 23 for the Marauders, leading to a shot differential of only plus-4 for The System team. And since only 13 of those turnovers turned into steals for Glenville State, they rarely lead to the open looks relied upon in this style. Of course, this is the perspective of a former sportswriter turned banker who never has coached anything other than rec league. What do I know?
The start really couldn't have gone much better for the Pioneers. They were forcing mistakes, making 3-pointers and otherwise dominating the game, leading 18-4 after less than 5 minutes had run off the clock. It doesn't take a math genius (certainly not someone the caliber of my brother) to see that leaves about 88 percent of the game, during which Glenville State managed only 61 points. That sometimes is the total in one half, so obviously Millersville did a great job controlling the pace from there on out.
Once the Marauders got back in it, they forged the sixth tie of the game at the half, with the second half nip and tuck until the Pioneers seemingly took control. Deren did all the damage, connecting on three 3-pointers in about 3 minutes (wow, that's a lot of "3s") to give the visitors a 72-65 lead with 7:12 left in the game.
Yet Glenville State again went through a scoring funk, managing only seven points down the stretch, and fell behind by two when Leola Pinkney made a layup with 25 seconds left. It was 79-77 at that point. Kenyell Goodson worked inside for a basket in close to tie it, setting up Stroman's final free throws.
She missed the first but calmly made the second, sending Glenville State (3-2) to its second loss in three games. Don't worry, it's still early.
Coach Harkleroad's team is on the road again Tuesday night at Bowie State, part of an eight-game road trip to open the season. This one starts at 5:30 p.m. EST, and you know I'll let you know how it goes for the Pioneers.
Meanwhile, Galesburg struggled to stay with the Springfield Senators and lost 90-62 in its own Thanksgiving tournament. The margin was only 13 entering the fourth quarter before Springfield took over.
One bright spot for the Streaks was senior Jessica Howard, who reached 1,000 points for her career to place her 13th on the all-time scoring list at the school. She finished with 17 points and got her milestone near the end of the third quarter on a free throw; she now has 1,006 points. There is video of this moment courtesy of the Illinois High School Sports Network. Congrats to her!
Here are The Formula goals put up by Galesburg:
- Attempted 58 shots (goal is 72)
- Attempted 33 3-pointers (goal is 36, this is the lowest output of the season)
- Rebounded 41 percent of its own misses (goal is 40 percent)
- Forced 19 turnovers (goal is 26, this is the lowest of the season)
- Attempted seven fewer shots than the Senators (goal is 20 more)
Reaching these numbers obviously was tough, as Coach Massey pointed out on his blog:
"It would be easy to say that this must have been a bad game for Galesburg," he wrote. "But for three quarters this may have been our best game of the year. But the inability to reach our numbers is really a tribute to how outstanding Springfield is as a team."
Galesburg (1-2) takes a break from the Thanksgiving tourney to open Western Big 6 conference play Tuesday, traveling to Quincy. Game time is scheduled for 8 p.m. EST, and I'll check back in for all those fans out there. Go Streaks!