GENOA – Indian Creek girls basketball coach Paul Muchmore wasn’t surprised Genoa-Kingston focused on sophomore Josie Diehl in Monday’s 51-36 win – Muchmore said he’d do the same thing if he were the opposition.
But he also knows he has the players to take advantage of the open spaces left when opponents double-team the Daily Chronicle all-area center.
Junior Emma Goodrich scored 16 points in the season-opening win, when the Timberwolves (1-0) pulled away late in the second half.
“She took the opportunity to kill them on the weak side because they were focusing so much on Josie,” Muchmore said. “I think every team that we play is going to key on Josie. … Emma stepping up and making those shots and scoring will hurt teams that do that and give us more opportunities later on.”
The Cogs (0-1) hung point-for-point with the Timberwolves for much of the game. Freshman point guard Julie Galauner sank three first-half 3-pointers, and Tori Bennett scored six second-quarter points as the Cogs led, 29-26, two minutes into the third quarter.
But Indian Creek closed the third quarter on a 12-0 run in which five players scored, including freshman Olivia Harvell, who hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to make the score 40-32.
Genoa-Kingston scored only one basket during an 11-minute stretch that spanned from midway through the third quarter until 1:20 remained in the game, and the Timberwolves were able to close out the game.
“I just feel like in the fourth quarter it got away from us, we let the tiredness get to us. We just weren’t mentally there anymore,” said Cogs senior Andrea Strohmaier, who scored seven points. “Considering we have two freshmen, two sophomores, we don’t have a lot of experience, but coming into the game we were ready for it. We let a few mistakes get to our head and we let that carry into the last quarter.”
For a team that won only two games last season, the fact that the Cogs hung with the Timberwolves showed plenty of improvement. But coach Kyle Henkel knows his team has a long way to go.
“I think we’re a lot better on the offensive end this year,” Henkel said. “But we’re young … the two freshmen that played for us tonight are used to playing at eighth-grade speed, so I think that might have something to do with it. But that’s all part of the learning curve.”
The Timberwolves, meanwhile, also are a young team. But plenty of veterans returned this year to go with a core of talented youngsters. Despite losing a pair of all-area seniors, Goodrich thinks the Timberwolves have a chance to be a quality team again this season.
“We have a lot of potential on our team, especially with all of our freshmen and sophomores holding our team together,” she said. “I feel like we really work together as a team and we made a lot of nice passes. I feel like we’ve improved a lot from last season.”