Royals sputter late in loss to Trojans

Joe Randleman, Staff Writer
Playing in her first game back from an ACL injury suffered in the middle of last season, Colo-Nesco's Mackenna Ruffcorn had two points, four rebounds and four assists in a 61-46 loss to West Marshall to start the 2016-17 season Friday in Colo.

COLO - The effort was there, but the execution was not for the Colo-Nesco girls’ basketball team in a 61-46 loss to West Marshall Friday in State Center.

The Royals entered the game with high hopes after returning most of the talent off last year’s 20-4 team. But West Marshall beat Colo-Nesco twice last year and the Royals continued to have problems with the Trojans’ athleticism and aggressiveness on Friday.

“Rebounding is the first key — they were more aggressive going to the ball than we were and they were kicking our butts on the boards terrible,” Colo-Nesco head girls’ basketball coach Wayne Cafferty said. “Then we were handling the ball like it was the first time we’ve ever played a varsity game. You have seven girls that have a lot of varsity experience and we were hurrying everything instead of being patient. We were trying to move before we caught it and trying to make plays before we had the ball. We did not play like an experienced team out there tonight.”

Colo-Nesco fell behind 11-2 and trailed 27-15 midway through the second quarter. From that point until the start of the fourth quarter, the Royals settled down and performed like expected from a battle-tested team.

By halftime, Colo-Nesco closed within 31-26. West Marshall briefly went up nine in the third quarter, but the Royals chipped away until getting within 46-43 on a Faith Vincent 3-pointer in the final minute of the quarter.

“The effort was there,” Cafferty said. “We were able to make some things happen through playing hard. That’s when we had our runs.”

But the Royal offense fell flat in the fourth quarter. West Marshall opened the quarter on an 11-0 run and Colo-Nesco’s only points of the entire quarter came on a Chelsea Henze 3-pointer with less than three minutes remaining.

“When they got the second and third opportunities we didn’t block out or talk on switches then they got wide-open looks,” Cafferty said. “We (also) got beat long too much — we’ve got to take care of that.”

Both teams had 31 rebounds, but West Marshall had a 10-7 edge on the offensive glass. The Trojans also had 18 steals to Colo-Nesco’s seven.

Cafferty said his team can do nothing but get better from here on out.

“You don’t get better playing the sisters of the poor — you get better playing good teams like West Marshall,” Cafferty said. “We’ll do nothing but grow from this game.”

Isabelle Gradwell and Brooke Snider both burned Colo-Nesco for 17 points apiece. Gradwell also had seven rebounds, three assists, three steals and two blocks and Snider ended up with five steals.

Kayla Cripps added 10 points and six rebounds, Madde Green six points and seven boards and Emma Meyer six points for the Trojans.

Vincent had nine points and six rebounds to pace Colo-Nesco. Kassie Robinson added nine points and four boards, Grace Stalzer put up six points and six rebounds and Chelsea Henze delivered seven points and one block.

Rachel Vincent finished with six points and two assists and Mackenna Ruffcorn two points, four rebounds and four assists.

West Marshall 61, Colo-Nesco 46

WM 19 12 15 15 - 61

CN 7 19 17 3 - 46

West Marshall (61) - Brooke Snider 7-20 1-2 17, Georgia Porter 0-0 0-0 0, Shannon Breja 1-1 2-2 4, Lexi Keigan 0-0 0-0 0, Kayla Cripps 3-6 2-2 10, Isabelle Gradwell 5-16 5-7 17, Karlyn Snider 0-0 0-0 0, Emma Meyer 1-3 4-5 6, Kassy Kern 0-0 0-0 0, Madde Green 2-7 1-2 6, Teresa Disney 0-1 0-0 0, Emma Reyerson 0-0 0-0 0, Grace Girard 0-0 1-2 1, Renae Schaper 0-0 0-2 0. Totals: 19-54 16-24 61. 3-point field goals (7): Snider 2, Cripps 2, Gradwell 2, Green. Rebounds (31): Gradwell 7, Green 7. Assists (9): Breja 3, Gradwell 3. Steals (18): B. Snider 5. Blocks (5): Gradwell 2, Girard 2.

Colo-Nesco (46) - Faith Vincent 3-9 0-0 9, Lauryn Hill 0-1 3-4 3, Grace Stalzer 3-6 0-0 6, Mackenna Ruffcorn 0-3 2-2 2, Kassie Robinson 3-8 3-4 9, Chelsea Henze 2-3 2-2 7, Rachel Vincent 2-3 0-0 6, Rylee Purvis 0-1 0-0 0, Delaney McGill 1-2 0-0 2, Emma Sarver 0-0 0-0 0, Madisen Lundquist 0-0 0-0 0, Molly Barten 1-5 0-0 2. Totals: 15-42 10-12 46. 3-point field goals (6): F. Vincent 3, R. Vincent 2, Henze. Rebounds (31): F. Vincent 6, Stalzer 6. Assists (9): Ruffcorn 4. Steals (7): R. Vincent 2. Blocks (2): Henze, Barten.