DAVENPORT - The start of the class 3A regional semi-final contest at 10th-ranked Davenport Assumption Wednesday, Feb. 19, couldn’t have gone any better for the Anamosa girls basketball team than it head coach Doug Arnold had ordered it off a menu.
“We worked on making Assumption play defense for at least over 30-seconds on every possession and then also make them work on offense in an attempt to frustrate them and make them try to force things,” Arnold said. “It was working to perfection in the first quarter. The girls were doing exactly what I asked them to do and you could see the Assumption girls started to get extremely frustrated. They started turning the ball over and doing things they don’t normally do.”
Not only were the Knights’ basketball players frustrated with the way the first eight-minutes of the game was being played, but even their fans were chiming in, screaming at their own girls.
Davenport Assumption girls basketball coach Katelyn McNamara was forced to call not one, but two first quarter timeouts as not only was her team struggling to get much of anything accomplished against a pressure Anamosa defense, but the Raiders were also having some offensive success of their own.
Maddy Heims, Maggie McQuillen and Joslin Banowetz sparked the visitors on a run no one in the state of Iowa would have believed as Anamosa claimed an 11-9 lead at the first quarter horn.
“Yeah, I bet that score surprised quite a few people around the state when they first saw it or heard about it,” Arnold said. “We were supposed to come in here and just get run off the floor from the opening tip, and that didn’t happen. Then in the second quarter, and for the rest of the game, for some reason the girls went away from the formula that had been so successful and tried to run with Assumption.
“When that started happening, I knew we were in big trouble.”
The Raiders went from one extreme to the other, not only being held without a second quarter field goal, but the Knight offense exploded scoring 24 points in the frame and led 33-15 at the half as Anamosa was limited to just four free throws (three from Heims and one from Banowetz) in the second quarter.
“In the first quarter when we were being patient on offense and working for our shots and making Assumption defend, we were able to get quality looks at the basket, and some of them were even going down. But once the girls decided we needed to run with them, all of a sudden, shots were much tougher to come by. We started turning the basketball over, too, and struggled to even get shots up.”
The offensive struggles continued in the third quarter as well for the Raiders, who were held scoreless as the Knights went on a 11-0 run taking a 44-15 advantage before Cecilia Venenga connected from beyond the arc at the 2:36 mark of the third quarter, Anamosa’s first field goal since the opening quarter.
“By that point we had to play faster in an attempt to get back into the game, and that only made things worse for us,” Arnold said. “Assumption just kept pouring it on.”
Ava Claussen-Tubbs added a fourth quarter field goal for the Raiders who overall struggled from the field shooting 15-percent (5-of-33) on the night after getting off to such a quality start in the game’s opening eight—minute stretch.
“At the start of the game, and with the way we were playing and with what we were doing to Davenport Assumption, I honestly thought we could actually win,” said Anamosa senior Maggie McQuillen, who closed her spectacular basketball career pulling down a team-high seven rebounds while also scoring three points against the Knights.
“Our defense was really good and we all did a good job of playing together. We guarded Assumption’s big girls well, too. It just seemed everything we were doing was working in that first quarter. Then we went from playing smart basketball to playing not so smart basketball, and Assumption took advantage.”
Heims led all Raider scorers with eight points while Banowetz added five more.
“This loss was frustrating, especially after the way things started,” McQuillen said. “But it’s been a good four years. I can look back and know we accomplished a lot. I wish we could have won a few more games this year, but we have a young team that’s only going to get better.”
“It was fun shocking everyone with the way we played Assumption in the first quarter,” he said. “But the future could be bright for this team. We lose a very talented player in Maggie, but return everyone else while also bringing some talented girls into the program next season. We’ll work hard this summer and try and take that next step next winter. I’m excited about the possibilities.”
Anamosa closes the 2019-20 campaign with a 5-17 overall record.