Albia, West Burlington hand Cardinal losses
The Cardinal girls’ basketball team is off to the races.
The Comets’ season began Nov. 21 when they traveled to Albia. The trip did not go as planned. Cardinal coach Kayla Eakins has to find girls who can replace the production of Lexi Fullenkamp, Jessie McElderry and Ryley McElderry. In time, the underclassmen will grow into their roles and be able to fill their shoes. But with growth comes growing pains, and the Comets certainly felt them against the Blue Demons as they fell 62-17.
Eakins’ squad had no time to lick its wounds as it had to regroup for a home tilt against West Burlington the very next day. The Comets looked much improved despite the short rest, though they still came up short to the Falcons 56-36.
ALBIA 62, COMETS 17
Senior Autumn Deshler will be a key cog in the Cardinal machine. Deshler set a school record last year for most three-pointers made in a season with 56. Unfortunately, word got out to Albia and the Blue Demons were able to hold the senior Comet to four points on 1-13 shooting overall and 1-6 shooting beyond the arc. She had one rebound.
Junior Jamie White was the team’s leading scorer despite never making a field goal. White scored all her points from the charity stripe, where she went 7-8. Sadly, the free-throw line was not kind to the Comets. The rest of the team went 3-15 at the line. The team was 3-33 from the floor and 1-9 from beyond the arc.
Freshman Lydia Moses has shown terrific promise in the team’s scrimmages. She finished 2-9 with five points and one rebound. Senior Kaylie Blunt scored one point while picking up four rebounds. Senior Sarah Schmidt had three rebounds and an assist.
FALCONS 56, COMETS 36
Though one would never guess it from the final score, this was anyone’s game until the fourth quarter. Cardinal jumped ahead 10-5 in the first quarter, but gave up the lead in the second when West Burlington outscored the hosts 16-8. Cardinal continued to hold firm in the third quarter and entered the fourth trailing only 33-27. That’s when the Falcons ignited their after-burners and sped away from the Comets to a 20-point victory.
Deshler was in a much better groove against West Burlington as she connected on three of her five three-point attempts. She finished 5-12 on field goals and led the team with 18 points. She also collected four rebounds.
White took seven of her nine shots from behind the three-point line and connected on two of them to finish with six points. She also had a rebound. Jameson was an efficient 3-4 from the field and 1-2 from distance to finish with seven points. Schmidt, who did not score against Albia, threw down four points while collecting three rebounds.
Blunt led the team in rebounds with five and in assists with two. Maddie Cloke missed the first game with a fractured wrist but found herself in the starting lineup against West Burlington. The freshman raked in three rebounds and one steal.
The Comets were 11-33 (33 percent) from the field, 6-15 (40 percent) from long range and 8-14 (57 percent) at the free-throw line, all huge improvements over their stats against Albia.
Though the Comets let the game slip away in the fourth quarter, they can take solace in the fact they played noticeably better in game two than in game one of the young season. Eakins hopes the girls can build on that performance to put together something truly special against Pekin, Cardinal’s next opponent.
It looks like Pekin head coach Davis Eidahl has assembled another monster out in Packwood. The Panthers lost four starters from last year’s team but return first team All-Conference selection Maci Gambell. Gambell scored 17 points in the team’s 50-19 season-opening rout of Louisa-Muscatine.
Pekin and Cardinal will but heads Tuesday night in Packwood.