Their floor general has returned, though the Bobcats' offensive consistency is still absent.
Outdoing its 15-point outing from Friday with 20 in the opening half, the Marshalltown girls' basketball team showed some spark with starting point guard Taylor Wagner back in the lineup.
Unfortunately, the Bobcats (1-3) couldn't carry the momentum past intermission, scoring just two points in the final 16 minutes to drop a 33-22 non-conference contest to Boone at the Roundhouse Saturday.
T-R PHOTO BY ROSS THEDE
Marshalltown’s Amanda Hughes, right, has her shot knocked away by Boone’s Bailey Hilsabeck during the first half of Saturday’s non-conference girls’ basketball game at the Roundhouse. Hughes had six points to lead the Bobcats, but a stagnant second half for the home team allowed Boone to collect a 33-22 victory.
Knotted at 20 at the break, the Toreadors (2-2) continued to use their size inside earning extra opportunities on the boards and finding numerous high percentage shots. Bridget Biersner followed a couple Boone misses with a putback and Mariah McPartland added another quick bucket in the paint to spark a 9-0 run for the Toreadors.
A pair of Marshalltown turnovers and a trio of misses from point blank range fueled Boone's scoring binge, as it was often one-and-done for the Bobcats.
"With their zone and their size, you don't get second chances," said Johnson.
Boone (2-2) - Carrie Overland 0 0-0 0, Tasha Faulkner 0 0-0 0, Bailey Hilsabeck 0 0-0 0, Morgan McKim 0 0-0 0, Sierra Leeds 3 0-1 6, Taylor Johnson 3 0-1 6, Serena Sandvig 3 0-2 6, Bridget Biersner 4 3-6 11, Mariah McPartland 2 0-1 4. TOTALS 15 3-11 33.
MHS (1-3) - Amanda Hughes 2 1-2 6, Ellyn Boland 1 1-2 3, Eisha Oden 2 1-1 5, Taylor Wagner 2 0-0 5, Emily Rebik 0 0-0 0, Rachel Blagg 0 3-4 3, Lauren Mazour 0 0-1 0. TOTALS 7 6-10 22.
3-Point Goals - MHS 2 (Hughes, Wagner).
"They're going to take it from you."
Serena Sandvig capped the surge with another putback before Ellyn Boland's jumper ended the Bobcats' seven-minute drought to bring the score to 29-22 in the final minute of the third.
Marshalltown wouldn't find the bottom of the net again as Boone padded their lead with a couple more buckets inside.
"We knew that both (Eisha Oden) and (Lauren Mazour) could really shoot the ball so we wanted to take away the inside game. We had difficulty playing them in man, so we switched to zone," said Boone coach Mark Hein.
Missing the first three games while battling through bronchitis, Wagner contributed five points in her return and played in four-minute spurts while still working her way back to full strength.
"She's feeling better. She still has the cough, but overall she can breathe," said Johnson, who felt the end of the week game was perfect timing to get his point guard back on the floor.
"It was time to get her back in the lineup. We'll gradually get her more minutes as the season progresses."
Wagner's first basket tied the game at eight late in the first frame before Eisha Oden converted a layup in transition to give the home team a 10-8 edge after one. The teams traded buckets - and the lead four times - in the second quarter as Wagner drilled a three to give the Bobcats a one-point advantage with 50 seconds to play in the half. Biersner, one of three Toreadors to score six points, converted one of two at the line to even the score at the break.
Amanda Hughes led the Bobcats with six points and Eisha Oden added five. Taylor Johnson and Sierra Leeds scored six apiece for the visitors.
Taking advantage of 10 first half fouls from Boone - including eight in the first quarter - the Bobcats connected on six of their first nine attempts from the line, but Johnson felt there were opportunities for more.
"They were in the double bonus early in the second quarter. We have to take advantage of that and put the pressure on them there," said Johnson.
"Our defense did well, but we just didn't put points on the board."
Johnson expects backup center Brittanie McGrane to be cleared for Tuesday's home game against West Des Moines Valley at 6:15 p.m. McGrane suffered a concussion against Des Moines Hoover Nov. 27. The other casualty from that game, starting guard Sam Hughes, is expected to be out at least two more weeks with a knee injury.