The Tigers weathered the initial quake. It was the aftershock that got them.
NJCAA Division II No. 2-ranked Johnson County Community College hit the Marshalltown CC women's basketball team in waves, finally washing over the Tigers in the second half for a 77-52 victory in the Emerson JUCO Shootout on Friday at the Student Activity Center.
Marshalltown (5-4) was within six points of the Cavaliers (9-1) twice during the closing stages of the first half, but trailed by 10 at the break, 39-29.
T-R PHOTO BY ROSS THEDE
MCC sophomore guard Courtney Sullivan shoots against Johnson County Community College in the second half of Friday’s game as a part of the Emerson JUCO Shootout. Sullivan scored a team-high 14 points in the Tigers’ 77-52 loss.
T-R PHOTO BY ROSS THEDE
MCC’s Arnisha Thomas (24) is bumped on her way through the lane by Johnson County’s Kathleen Brisbane in Friday’s game.
Johnson County opened the second half with a haymaker that landed on the Tigers' jaws. MCC committed 10 turnovers in the first 5:19 after the intermission, scoring only two points during that span while falling behind 53-31.
"I told the girls that they're going to try to deliver a knockout blow to start, and we kind of stayed with that," said MCC coach Jay Freese. "We came back at the end of the first half and pulled within six, but we lost our steam again.
"We told the girls at halftime that they're going to come out and try to do it again, and we didn't take that one very good. We lost that one."
JOHNSON COUNTY (9-1) - Tanchelle Hollingsworth 1 3-4 5, Brianna Kulas 6 2-2 17, Mary Pat Specht 6 4-4 17, Ameshia Kearney 1 1-3 3, Polly Harrington 5 0-0 10, Kylie Cooper 3 2-6 8, Kelsey Knox 0 1-2 1, Kathleen Brisbane 1 0-0 2, Amy Briggs 5 0-0 14. TOTALS 28 13-21 77.
MARSHALLTOWN (5-4) - Jasmine Johnson 5 1-1 11, Courtney Sullivan 5 0-0 14, Kadera Jackson 1 0-0 2, Arielle Lockett 3 0-0 7, Lateisha Spates-Manning 1 0-0 2, Shantal Tobler 2 0-0 5, Shana Lee 1 0-1 2, Arnisha Thomas 3 3-4 9, Shakeria Slade 0 0-0 0, Latrice McMullen 0 0-0 0. TOTALS 21 4-7 52.
Halftime-JCCC 39-29. 3-Point Goals-JCCC 8 (Briggs 4, Kulas 3, Specht); MCC 6 (Sullivan 4, Tobler, Lockett). Team Fouls-JCCC 9, MCC 19. Fouled out-none.
Johnson County broke free with that 20-2 surge to start the second half and the Tigers never threatened again.
"They ran us pretty good," said MCC sophomore point guard Courtney Sullivan, who led the Tigers with 14 points. "Even their half-court offense was tough to stay with. They're cutting, moving, they were never standing, and that was the difference. We had trouble running our offense tonight."
Marshalltown found itself down 19-5 at the midway point of the first half. The Tigers were getting shots, but a number of them came from long range with the shot clock winding down. A more active man-to-man offense led to better looks, and MCC rallied to within 28-22 after making 7-of-11 field-goal attempts during that comeback.
Sullivan hit a pair of 3-pointers during that rally, Shantal Tobler nailed another, and Jasmine Johnson had back-to-back buckets in the lane.
Johnson's pull-up jumper in transition got MCC within 32-26 with 2:45 left in the first half, but Johnson County utilized its transition offense to regain a double-digit advantage going into the half.
"Being down by 10 to the No. 2 team in the nation and we didn't play well for half of that (first) half, that wasn't bad," said Freese.
The Cavaliers came out in a full-court press, forcing the ball into the hands of anybody but MCC's primary ball-handlers, and the Tigers' night took a turn for the worse.
Sullivan's steal and layup had MCC down just five, 40-35, with 17:35 remaining, but Johnson County scored the next 13 points while limiting the Tigers to only three shot attempts in that stretch.
Brianna Kulas and Mary Pat Specht led Johnson County with 17 points apiece, Amy Briggs netted 14 and Polly Harrington chipped in 10. Briggs made four 3-pointers and Kulas three in the only JUCO Challenge game for the Cavaliers.
Johnson County's 25-point victory came with three NCAA Division I recruits sitting injured on the end of its bench. The Cavaliers also were under the watchful eyes of Drake women's head coach Amy Stephens, who was in attendance on Friday night.
Sullivan made four 3-pointers to lead MCC with 14 points, Johnson finished with 11 and Thomas nine. Johnson had a team-high nine rebounds while Arielle Lockett contributed seven points and seven boards. Tobler and Kadera Jackson contributed six rebounds apiece, with Tobler leading the way with four assists and four steals.
The Tigers close out the tournament with the last game on Sunday night, facing the Central College junior varsity at 6 p.m.
"That game is over," Freese said of the loss to Johnson County. "We've got practice, time to get ready for Sunday evening and just let this one go. We already have, this one's over."