The Mark Twain girls basketball team fell to Community 49-37 at the Madison Tournament on Thursday night.
Fans of fast-break, high-scoring, rapid-action basketball, there’s no need to read further.
There were not many plays that would make a highlight reel when the girls teams from Community and Mark Twain matched up in the Madison Tournament on Thursday night.
The opponents played a relatively low-scoring physical game that featured lots of missed shots and 36 fouls between the two teams.
Community won 49-37 thanks to a strong second half.
“We knew that it was going to be a fairly ugly game coming into tonight,” said Community head coach Bob Curtis. “And it was a bit ugly.”
Community got off to an early lead and played back-and-forth ball with the Tigers for most of the first half. Mark Twain tied the game at the 17 with 5:11 left in the second quarter before the Trojans took gradual control of the game, but not without a tough fight from the Tigers.
Mark Twain’s intensity was on display with 2:11 left in the second quarter, when both teams traded the basketball on the Tigers end of the floor. The ball was knocked around like a volleyball until Mark Twain freshman Emma Ross grabbed the ball and sank a basket.
But each time the Tigers tried to break open the game with a fast break, Community responded with what bordered a four-corners offense, pass, pass, pass, pass, pass, waiting for a good look at the basket, a style that clearly frustrated the Tigers.
“At the four-minute mark, we were up by five, and we decided to take them out of their zone and keep the ball moving,” Curtis said. “We knew eventually they would come out after us or we would just kill the clock.”
Brandenburg said the strategy was calculated to help draw fouls, and it worked. Mark Twain was whistled 19 times during the game, and Community hit 17 of 24 from the foul line, which compensated for a rough night from the floor.
“I was comfortable with free throws,” said Curtis. “If we miss those free throws, we deserve to lose. I really felt like we would have to grind it out tonight. We have had some nights when the rim is huge and shots just fall in, and some nights not. That is when you have to play defense.”
Mark Twain, meanwhile, was without a key player.
Freshman Elizabeth Trower, the team’s second leading scorer and solid director of the offense from her guard position, was on crutches Thursday due to a knee injury she sustained last week against Bowling Green.
Brandenburg wondered how his team would respond to the adversity.
Well, just not enough to win.
“I am really proud of the way our girls fought tonight,” he said after the game. “We entered this game down a key starter with the injury to Elizabeth, and I was not sure how we would handle that, but they responded by coming out with great intensity on both offense and defense. But we missed Elizabeth tonight.”
Brandenburg said the team still does not know the extent of Trower’s injury.
The tournament resumes Jan. 3.