It was a great second-quarter showing against the state's eighth-ranked team.
But by then, the Bobcats were already in a 16-point hole.
Outscored 23-6 in the third frame, the Marshalltown girls' basketball team couldn't keep up with West Des Moines Valley's up-tempo attack in a 73-34 loss at the Roundhouse Tuesday.
T-R PHOTO BY TYLER STRAND
Marshalltown’s Taylor Wagner (32) drives past Valley defender Whitney Fuller in first half action Tuesday at the Roundhouse. The Class 5A No. 8-ranked Tigers built a 20-4 lead in the first quarter and went on to win 73-34.
Fueling the Tigers' transition attack with six turnovers on their first nine possessions, the Bobcats quickly found themselves trailing 10-0 and were behind 20-4 by the end of the first quarter.
"We tried to simulate the speed of basketball (Valley) plays in practice the best we could, but obviously they have some horses who can get out and run," said Marshalltown coach Tim Johnson.
"The game was faster than what we anticipated. The over the top passes and them beating us down court is unacceptable."
WDM VALLEY (5-0) - Madi Agey 8 0-0 17, Whitney Fuller 1 0-2 3, Grace Vander Weide 3 0-0 6, Emily Smith 0 2-2 2, Mackenzie Jones 4 1-2 10, Brooke O'Hollearn 0 0-0 0, Mandi Roemmich 0 0-2 0, Courtney Carr 1 0-0 2, Marissa Anfinson 0 1-2 1, Taylor Steil 2 0-0 5, Lexi Merritt 1 0-0 3, Kasey Feldt 3 0-0 6, Suha Hannoon 3 0-0 7, Courtney Twit 5 0-0 10. TOTALS 31 4-10 73.
MHS (1-4) - Amanda Hughes 1 1-2 4, Ellyn Boland 0 0-0 0, Lexi Vaughn 0 0-0 0, Jordyn Simbides 0 0-0 0, Eisha Oden 3 2-5 8, Taylor Wagner 2 2-2 6, Emily Rebik 0 0-0 0, Rachel Blagg 3 4-6 10, Kali Banks 0 0-0 0, Phoebe Lynk 0 0-0 0, Lauren Mazour 0 1-2 1, Brittanie McGrane 2 1-1 5. TOTALS 11 11-18 34.
3-Point Goals - VALLEY 6 (Agey, Jones, Hannoon, Fuller, Steil, Merritt), MHS 1 (Hughes).
Madi Agey and Courtney Twit paced Valley (5-0) with 10 points apiece in the opening half though the Bobcats held their own in the second quarter.
A jumper from Brittanie McGrane and a triple from Amanda Hughes capped a 12-6 flourish for the Bobcats who narrowed the deficit to 26-16 midway through the second. But seemingly every time Marshalltown (1-4) could find a bit of momentum, the Tigers were racing back to the other end for a quick basket.
The Bobcats knew it was coming, but often times they couldn't keep up.
"Immediately when the shot goes up we had a safety valve go back, but that safety valve constantly got beat," said Johnson.
"(Valley) sent two girls down the floor sometimes so you kind of have to pick your poison."
Valley (5-0) used a six-point burst to close the half with a 41-22 lead and widened the margin to 53-23 less than three minutes in. McGrane, who returned from a concussion sustained in the Bobcats' game against Hoover, provided a spark off the bench with five points but the positive buzz was short lived. Battling for a rebound, the sophomore went down hard midway through the third quarter with a right knee injury and didn't return. Her status is uncertain for the Bobcats' home game against Fort Dodge Friday.
Marshalltown's other recent return, Taylor Wagner, tallied six points, while Rachel Blagg led the Bobcats with 10 and Eisha Oden added eight.
"Taylor is still recovering and getting that game-speed back," said Johnson.
"It's coming slowly but surely."
Agey led the Tigers with a game-high 17 points, while Twit and Mackenzie Jones each tallied 10. Valley's Grace Vander Weide, who was averaging a team-best 15.5 points per outing coming into Friday, was held to six.
The Bobcats have a blueprint to build from, but they must keep the pedal to the metal as they prepare for the Dodgers.
"I liked how we responded in the second quarter, but I don't like that let off," said Johnson.
"If we can complete a quarter, cut it down to single digits and then keep it going, I like our chances."