SHABBONA – Indian Creek girls basketball couldn’t keep up with Putnam County in the fourth quarter of the Timberwolves’ 53-41 loss.
The Panthers closed out the game on an 20-6 run, using a full-court press to force nine fourth-quarter turnovers.
Indian Creek looked tired, and for good reason. Six of Indian Creek’s players were freshmen or sophomores, many of whom played in the sophomore game before the varsity tipped off.
“Some of the mistakes [the underclassmen] made tonight I think was just because they were tired, decision-making, catching the ball,” Indian Creek coach Paul Muchmore said. “That happens when you’re tired and you play a lot of minutes.
“I think they are giving us a lot of depth right now. Without them we’d be in trouble. I thought they did a good job.”
Indian Creek entered the season with a good mix of returning veterans and incoming underclassmen. The Timberwolves (2-3) start three seniors – Alyssa Arends, Ariel Russell and Kate Thuestad – along with junior Samantha Mosley.
While the team figures to consistently run through those four, the underclassmen should see their roles increase as the season progresses.
Russell and Thuestad both led the Timberwolves with 13 points while Mosley had seven points and nine rebounds before leaving the game with a head injury in the third quarter.
“The upperclassmen have been playing for a while because of our numbers, but now we have a good group of underclassmen that have so much talent and are only going to get better throughout the season,” Thuestad said. “We’ve already started out well.”
Among the group of newcomers is freshman center Josie Diehl, who came off the bench to record six points and six rebounds against Putnam County. Muchmore said Diehl’s emergence will give Indian Creek even more depth inside.
“She’s definitely going to get better and better,” Muchmore said. “It’s just about confidence in herself and recognizing that she can be a terrific basketball player. She finishes... she’s strong and she plays hard.”
Indian Creek led, 35-33, near the end of the third quarter before Putnam County’s fourth-quarter run.
But Muchmore’s hope is all of the experience and minutes played by his underclassmen on both levels early in the season will translate to a deeper team later on in the year. And tired legs won’t be an issue.
“I think the minutes and experience will only make them better,” Thuestad said. “We’re learning with each other how to play as a team.”