Turnovers plague MHS against No. 4 Johnston

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON • Marshalltown senior Grace Metzger (44) goes strong to the basket against Johnston’s Regan Nesheim during the first half of the No. 4 Dragons win over the Bobcats in the Roundhouse Friday.

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON • Marshalltown senior Grace Metzger (44) goes strong to the basket against Johnston’s Regan Nesheim during the first half of the No. 4 Dragons win over the Bobcats in the Roundhouse Friday.

Through the first four minutes of Friday’s CIML Iowa Conference game between the Marshalltown girls basketball team and Class 5A No. 4 Johnston, the Bobcats were giving the Dragons all they could handle.

Neither team could get much going offensively, as Johnston held just a 3-2 lead at the halfway point in the first quarter, and the MHS girls looked like they had a chance to steal a game from their conference rivals.

That was, however, until the Dragons turned up the pressure.

Johnston would end the quarter on a 16-2 run, then the Dragons outscored the Bobcats 21-2 in the second frame to own a 40-6 lead at halftime.

What changed the game was a combination of Marshalltown’s inability to bring the ball up the court, and Johnston’s ability to turn the Bobcats’ 18 first-half turnovers in to points on almost every occasion.

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON • Marshalltown junior Alyvia Chadderdon, left, pulls up for a shot at the top of the key while Johnston’s Macy Thompson looks on during the second half of the Bobcats’s loss to the Dragons on Friday in the Roundhouse.

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON • Marshalltown junior Alyvia Chadderdon, left, pulls up for a shot at the top of the key while Johnston’s Macy Thompson looks on during the second half of the Bobcats’s loss to the Dragons on Friday in the Roundhouse.

MHS head coach Stacy O’Hare said these problems handling the ball and scoring aren’t new issues for her squad.

“That’s been a struggle of ours for many years. Teams know that, teams scout us and they put a lot of pressure on us,” O’Hare said. “We are just not real good with the ball, we don’t handle the pressure, we just have to exert so much energy getting the ball across the half line because we get amped up and we don’t calm ourselves down and they pick it and we are chasing it.”

Adding on to the fatigue factor is the fact that Marshalltown (1-17, 0-9) generally plays a six-person rotation, and when facing teams like Johnston (15-3, 8-1) that want to make you play all 94 feet that can cause problems.

“I thought we played great defense for the first couple of minutes of the game, and then you could see where we were exhausted,” O’Hare said. “Is it because we are out of shape? No, it’s because we exert so much energy trying to break the press and chasing them down.”

After turning the ball over 18 times in the first half, the Bobcats only gave it away seven times in the second, but the running clock was on and Johnston had pulled most of their starters by that time.

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON

O’Hare said what brought her girls some success was the way they moved the ball in the second half and ran their offense.

“We ran a couple of different set plays, that’s what we’ve been trying to work on,” she said. “Trying to run through something different that they wanted to run in the second half.”

Erica Johnson led the Bobcats in scoring with four points, while Madi Finch finished with three.

Jennah Johnson was the only scorer in double figures in the game, recording 14 for the Dragons.

It’s been a tough season for the MHS girls, as they’ve now lost 17-straight games. There is a silver lining on the horizon, however, as the Bobcats face off with 1A Aplington-Parkersburg on Monday, then they take on Des Moines Lincoln on Tuesday in another winnable game.

O’Hare said her girls have been through the gauntlet playing against teams like Johnston and No. 1 Dowling Catholic, and so they are ready to face some competition that is closer to their level.

“I think the girls are excited for next week, we play Aplington-Parkersburg on Monday and then we have Lincoln on Tuesday and I think both are beatable teams,” she said. “A-P is a good team but I wouldn’t compare them to a Dowling or Johnston or anything like that. It’s a team we can compete with, and the biggest thing is the girls are going into those games feeling good about it, and that’s huge because a lot of times when you know you are playing [so many ranked teams] it’s hard to get motivated because you know what might happen.”

The Bobcats and Falcons will face off in the Roundhouse on Monday, starting at 6:15 p.m.

Johnston 56, Marshalltown 13

At Marshalltown

JOHNSTON (15-3, 5-1) — Macy Thompson 2 0-0 4, Alma Hodzic 3 0-0 6, Jennah Johnson 6 0-0 14, Maddie Mock 4 0-0 9, Regan Nesheim 2 4-5 8, Brooke McKee 3 0-0 7, Aubrey McCombs 0 0-0 0, Kassie Pietsch 1 0-0 2, Natalie Kahre 1 0-0 2, Kendall Nead 3 0-0 6. TOTALS 24 4-5 56.

MARSHALLTOWN (1-17, 0-9) — Alyvia Chadderdon 1 0-0 2, Erica Johnson 2 0-0 4, Madi Finch 1 1-1 3, Kassy Vest 1 0-0 2, Grace Metzger 1 0-0 2, Kyra Feldman 0 0-0 0, Jade Tejada 0 0-0 0, Gabby Himes 0 0-0 0. TOTALS 6 1-2 13.

JOHNSTON 19 21 10 6 — 56

MHS 4 2 3 4 — 13

3-Point Goals–JHN 4 (Johnson 2, Mock, McKee). Total Fouls–JHN 4, MHS 8. Fouled Out–none.