The Mark Train girls’ basketball team had its home opener Tuesday night as the Lady Tigers hosted Community R-6. Unfortunately for Mark Twain, there wasn’t much celebrating going on as the Lady Tigers lost 34-27.
“It was physical and rough,” Mark Twain senior Kayla Palmer said. “(Community) came out ready to play.”
Mark Twain head coach Alex Brandenburg acknowledged his team’s effort.
“It was a rough one,” Brandenburg said. “We came in with high hopes. The girls were positive and they played hard. I can’t complain about their effort.”
Outside of the opening eight minutes of the game, Mark Twain outscored Community R-6 (1-0). But the Lady Tigers were unable to overcome their first quarter deficit.
“The second through fourth quarter, I can’t complain, we played great, especially in the second half,” Brandenburg said. “We had seven points in the first half and we had 20 in the second half.”
Community’s Amelia Knipfel quickly opened the game with a three-pointer. By the time the first quarter was over, the Lady Trojans led 11-2.
“We over looked it,” Palmer said. “We should have come out stronger. We were close the whole game and if we would have come out stronger, it might have been a closer game or even a win.”
Mark Twain didn’t even get on the scoreboard until 3:40 was left on the clock.
“They came out and put the pressure on us,” Brandenburg said. “Those girls from R-6 played hard. They played really well and they have a good group over there.”
Mark Twain (1-1) scored first in the second quarter, but Community was still able to extend its lead over the Lady Tigers to 17-7 by outscoring Mark Twain 6-5.
Trailing by 10 at the intermission, the Lady Tigers went into the break with an idea of what they wanted and needed to do to get their offense going.
“We wanted to move the ball more,” Brandenburg said. “We were stuck to one side of the court and were getting in some bad habits that we have gotten over many years of playing basketball. … We just wanted to stay out of trouble and to try and find the open spots. We understand our offense and we know where our girls are going to be.”
It worked as the Lady Tigers opened the second half with a pair of quick buckets. The Lady Tigers climbed to within four points with the help of 8-2 run early in the third quarter. But that was as close as they would get as Community closed out the third quarter with a 7-0 run and a 26-15 lead.
Page 2 of 2 - Mark Twain finally put it all together in the fourth quarter as the Lady Tigers outscored Community 12-8. After not scoring since she opened the second quarter with a bucket, Kayla Palmer scored three buckets in the fourth quarter. Palmer finished the night tied for the Lady Tigers’ lead with 8 points.
Brandenburg was pleased with his seniors’ play late in the game.
“Kayla Palmer played big,” Brandenburg said. “She scored some points there down the stretch.”
Mackenzie Grossmann also came on strong in the fourth quarter, sinking Mark Twain’s final two layups of the game to finish with 8 points.
As a team, Mark Twain outrebounded Community 22-20. Palmer led the Lady Tigers with a game-high five boards while Alicia Cole, Kyley Barnes and Grossmann all pulled down four rebounds.
Mark Twain will be back on the road Friday, Nov. 30, as the Lady Tigers travel to Marion County for a 6 p.m. tipoff.
COMMUNITY R-6 34, MARK TWAIN 25
Community R-6 11 6 9 8 – 34
Mark Twain 2 5 8 12 – 27
Scoring: Mark Twain – Alicia Cole 1 0-1 2, Maygan Huff 2 0-1 4, Mackenzie Grossmann 4 0-1 8, Kayla Palmer 4 0-0 8, Candace Gatson 1 0-0 2, Kyley Barnes 1 1-2 3, Totals 13 1-5 27; Community – Paige Curtis 3 3-4 9, Paige Harris 3 1-1 7, Emmalee McCoskey 2 0-0 6, Amelia Knipfel 2 0-0 5, Leah Mays 1 1-4 3, Danielle Brooks 1 0-0 2, Julie Hale 1 0-0 2, Totals 14 5-9 34
3-pointers: Mark Twain 0, Community 1 (Knipfel)
Rebounds: Mark Twain 22 (Palmer 5, Grossmann 4, Barnes 4, Cole 4, Chloe Majors 3, Huff 2), Community 20 (Ashley Steele 5, Brooks 4, Curtis 4, Harris 3, Knipfel 2, Mays, Hale)
Record: Mark Twain 1-1, Community 1-0