It was evident early in Marshalltown's matchup with Class 5A No. 4 Dowling Catholic that the Maroons were going to go inside and go inside often.
The Maroons feature two 6-foot-1 post players and both of them were too much for Marshalltown to handle as Dowling Catholic jumped out to an early lead and never looked back during a 66-28 win at the Roundhouse on Tuesday in an inter-division matchup in the Central Iowa Conference.
"They pounded the post against us and we couldn't really do much to stop it," MHS coach Tim Johnson said. "They have about seven girls who can play in there and we just can't simulate that style of play in practice."
T-R PHOTO BY TROY HYDE
MHS junior guard Amanda Hughes, right, drives to the bucket against Dowling Catholic’s Alicia Crivaro on Tuesday during the Bobcats’ loss to the Class 5A No. 4 Maroons at the Roundhouse. Hughes finished with a team-high nine points in the loss.
Junior Luci Sarcone came into the game averaging just less than seven points per game but finished with a game-high 20, while fellow 6-foot-1 center Audrey Faber, a sophomore, added 15 points in the easy win. It was the ninth straight victory for Dowling Catholic.
"She can go left and she can go right," Johnson said of Sarcone. "She can play basketball and she is athletic. We had a tough time defending her."
On the flip side, the Bobcats' offense once again struggled to find consistency. MHS (3-14) managed just four free throws in the opening quarter and found itself down 40-16 at halftime.
DOWLING CATHOLIC (15-1) - Kennedy Childers 1 2-2 4, Claire Lawler 1 0-0 2, Hayden Butler 2 2-2 7, Kaitlyn Mauk 1 0-0 2, Luci Sarcone 10 0-0 20, Alyssa Beck 0 2-2 2, Becca Hittner 3 6-6 12, Kathleen Meek 1 0-0 2, Audrey Faber 7 1-2 15. TOTALS 26 13-14 66.
MHS (3-14) - Amanda Hughes 3 2-2 9, Sam Hughes 1 0-0 3, Kali Banks 1 0-1 2, Lauren Mazour 1 3-4 5, Ellyn Boland 1 0-0 2, Rachel Blagg 0 1-4 1, Eisha Oden 1 4-4 6. TOTALS 8 10-15 28.
3-Point Goals-DC 1 (Butler), MHS 2 (A.Hughes, S.Hughes).
"The offense looks good in practice but we don't have the type of girls to simulate their height," Johnson said. "You have to have a certain amount of passes to beat a defense like theirs. It's not like we haven't seen it. Their height just really bothered us."
Amanda Hughes was a bright spot for the Bobcats as she finished with nine points. She hit a 3 in the third period and then knocked in two free throws in the closing seconds of the frame, but the Bobcats still trailed 50-24 heading into the fourth.
The Maroons held MHS to just four points in the final quarter as their suffocating defense was too much to handle all night.
"You have to take what this defense gives you, but our shots just didn't fall tonight," Johnson said. "Dowling plays really good defense. Our open looks just didn't go in."
Eisha Oden was held to one field goal and six points in the Bobcat loss, while Lauren Mazour added five.
Dowling Catholic (15-1) also got 12 points from 5-foot-10 freshman Becca Hittner. Nine different Maroons scored at least two points. They had six different players score points in the first frame when they went up 19-4.
The nine straight wins for Dowling Catholic have come after its only loss of the season to Class 5A No. 1 Ankeny. ... The most points the Maroons have allowed all season is 51. ... Marshalltown heads to Fort Dodge (3-12) on Friday. The Bobcats beat the Dodgers 57-43 in the first meeting earlier this season.