MFL MarMac girls basketball team off to 4-1 start

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Riley Moreland has been MFL MarMac’s top scorer and rebounder so far, including double-doubles against Ed-Co and South Winn last week. (Photos by Audrey Posten)

Sophomore Grace Anderson, in her first game back from an injury, provided a spark off the bench in MFL MarMac’s win over West Central, with 14 points and four rebounds.

Last week, Carlie Jones and the Bulldog defense were able to hold off a pesky West Central team, winning 33-26.

Miranda Lang sends a pass to one of her MFL MarMac teammates.

By Audrey Posten, Times-Register

Two weeks into the season, the MFL MarMac girls basketball team is 4-1, but head coach Jason Winter said there’s still room for improvement.

“Almost every one of our games has been pretty close,” he said. “Right now, we’re kind of playing to the level of our competition.”

After a big season-opening win over Turkey Valley, the Bulldogs started the second week of play Dec. 7, against Edgewood-Colesburg. MFL MarMac jumped out to a 28-18 advantage over the Vikings in the first half, but Ed-Co chipped away at the lead in the third quarter, making it 37-30. The Bulldogs held them off in the fourth period, though, winning 50-42.

Junior Riley Moreland had another big night for MFL MarMac, racking up 21 points and 13 rebounds for her second double-double in as many games. She had four assists, one steal and three of the team’s four blocks, as well. Ed-Co also had a difficult time containing senior Kayden Gillitzer, who tallied 19 points in the game, along with six rebounds, three steals and an assist. 

The Bulldogs headed to South Winneshiek the following night, Dec. 8, where they cruised past the Warriors 48-15. The MFL MarMac defense held South Winn to six points or fewer in each quarter, including just one point in the opening period.

Moreland again proved unstoppable, hitting over 53 percent of her shots, for 21 points. She snagged 10 rebounds, giving her a third double-double. Lakota Morrissey added eight points, while Hannah Bogdonovich came off the bench to contribute four points, five rebounds, three steals and two assists.

Dec. 11, the Bulldogs were back to another nail biter, outlasting West Central 33-26. The offense struggled to hit shots in this game, scoring over 10 points in only one quarter—the second.

Sophomore Grace Anderson, in her first game back from an injury, provided a spark off the bench for MFL MarMac, with 14 points and four rebounds.

“She was absolutely huge for us,” Winter stressed.

Moreland scored just eight points, but kept her double-digit rebound streak alive, with 14. She also had two assists, one steal and one block. Gillitzer picked up three points and a block before an ankle injury forced her from the court. The stat lines for Carlie Jones and Miranda Lang each included two points, two rebounds and an assist.

The Bulldogs closed out their busy week Dec. 12, falling 43-41 at undefeated Jesup—giving the team just its first loss of the season.

The competition, said Winter, “was a huge step up, but I think we were very capable.”

MFL MarMac led 21-16 at halftime, thanks to a 16-7 run in the second quarter. However, the J-Hawks returned the favor after the break, out-scoring the Bulldogs 14-8 in the third period to grab a 30-29 advantage. They then held off MFL MarMac in the game’s final minutes, to win by two points.

Lang scored over half the team’s points in this contest, with 21, in addition to four rebounds, one assist and one steal. Moreland picked up seven points and nine rebounds and had one each in the assist, steal and block columns. Anderson totaled six points and a team-high 10 rebounds, along with two steals.

Winter said the Bulldogs have, so far, handled the pressure well.

“We’ve also handled the press pretty good all season,” he added. “Things we really need to work on are knocking down some outside shots and listening. Our listening skills are not where they need to be. But it’s early.”

Health will also play a factor. Just as the Bulldogs got Anderson back, and as guard Miranda Lang was able to fight through a hand injury, Gillitzer then went down.

“We need her to compete,” Winter stated. “I said, at the beginning of the year, we need to stay healthy and injury free. We haven’t done that, but we’ve found ways to win so far.”

This week, MFL MarMac will head to Kee on Tuesday, Dec. 15, then make up a game against Waukon on Thursday, Dec. 17. The team will wrap up the week Friday, Dec. 18, at Postville. 

“We’ve got a lot of games yet to play before Christmas,” Winter said. “Hopefully we can get all the girls healthy. I’d like to have us play one game before Christmas with everyone healthy.”

A full roster will be especially important, he said, in upcoming clashes with Upper Iowa Conference contenders North Fayette Valley, Turkey Valley and Central.

“I think we’ve got enough pieces,” he noted, “but we’ve got to put the ball in the hoop too.”

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