CHAMOIS, Mo. — The Russellville Indians girls basketball team (12-8) won Feb. 18, besting the Chamois Pirates (7-8) in a comfortable — albeit low-scoring — 43-17 victory.
The Indians' defense forced a ton of problems for the Pirates throughout the game; in the first quarter, the Indians gave up only one point, which came off of a free throw, and the Indians led 6-1 after a low-scoring opening quarter.
The Indians had some struggles of their own with scoring, but with less than 5:00 left in the second quarter the Indians led 10-2 nonetheless. The Indians later led 13-2 when the Pirates made their first field goal to make it 13-4 with less than 3:00 left in the first half. A basket by Cali Coombs made it 17-4 with less than 2:00 to go before halftime. Near the end of the second quarter, the Pirates made it 19-7 with less than 1:00 on the clock. That would be the last time they scored in the half.
Russellville gave up only seven points throughout the entire first half and led 21-7 by halftime.
Defense was a focus for the Indians going into the game, as they knew they would be less than consistent when it came to shooting the ball due to their recent inability to practice, according to head coach Brian Bishop.
"That was our main focus going into the game since we haven't been able to practice all week," Bishop said. "We knew our shots weren't going to be consistent. (We) really tried to mix defenses up on them and know where (Chamois player) Katie (Keilholz) was at at all times. That definitely gave us some confidence, which led to some success on the offensive side."
The third quarter continued the overall low-scoring trend of the game as with around 2:30 left in the quarter, the Indians led 25-11. A three-point play by Allison Schrimpf increased the Indians' lead to 28-11 with just less than 2:00 left in the quarter. By the end of the quarter, Russellville led 30-13.
While playing with a big lead, Bishop said the Indians were able to start running their offense more fluidly; it just took them a while to get their timing back, he said.
In the final quarter, a basket by Camie Grayson bolstered Russellville's lead to 31 points, and the Indians led 34-13 with around 7:00 left in the game. Russellville went on a 6-2 run to make it a 40-15 game with less than 4:00 left on the clock. The final minutes saw only five points scored between both teams combined as the Indians chalked up another victory.
Both teams struggled with turnovers, especially in the second half, as Russellville lost the ball 12 times. The Indians' defense helped force 14 turnovers by Chamois to offset the issue.
Bishop said some of the mental mistakes and turnovers the Indians made were a mix of not being able to play due to weather-related reschedules and what Chamois was doing on defense.
"We knew Chamois was going to play a solid man defense and like I said before, our timing just wasn't there until late in the third, early fourth quarter," Bishop said. "Being off for that long is difficult for any team and I was glad just we were able to get out there and play."
Schrimpf led the team with 11 points, followed by Grayson with nine points and Coombs with six points.
Bishop said it was good for the team to get some confidence from the win with districts approaching.
"I actually told the girls that in the locker room after the game; it doesn't matter who we play, you have to go compete each game," Bishop said. "We knew Chamois was without one of their top players who had a great career for them, but we also knew they would come out and play hard. It was good for us to get out there and gain some confidence before our matchup (last) Saturday versus Fatima and districts next week."
The Indians' next game will be at 6 p.m. Feb. 24 against the winner of the matchup between Linn and Belle in the semifinals of the Class 3 District 8 Tournament at Tipton.