ROCK FALLS – With her team trailing by five points early in the third quarter Tuesday night, Morgan Mammosser decided enough was enough.
Over the next 5½ minutes, the Rock Falls senior guard provided the boost the Rockets needed to pull out a nonconference win, 44-36 over St. Bede at Tabor Gym.
Mammosser’s 14 points, four rebounds and three assists were all team highs, and Rock Falls pulled away with a late run.
“We were down, not running our offense too well, so I figured I had to step up and be a leader,” said Mammosser, who had 11 of her 14 points and all three of her assists in the second half. “It’s my job to pick up the team when we’re down.
“It was time for me to do my job.”
Down 24-19 a little more than 2 minutes into the second half, Mammosser scored on a strong drive to the basket before draining a 3-pointer on the next possession to bring the Rockets within two at 26-24. A minute later, she drove to the hoop for a layup, then nailed a pull-up jumper to tie the score at 30.
“I never make 3-pointers; that came out of nowhere,” Mammosser said. “After that, I wanted to get aggressive … but do it under control. I wanted to attack the basket, but not rush the offense and get out of control.”
After her scoring flurry, Mammosser started creating for her teammates. She found a wide-open Jessica Wind under the basket to tie the score at 32 and kick-start an 11-0 run to close the third quarter and open the fourth.
Bailey Schrader (9 points, 4 rebounds, 2 steals) ended the third with a layup on a press-breaking pass from Kara Nehrkorn (3 assists), then started the fourth with another layup after Mammosser snapped off a pretty skip pass into the post. Another Mammosser assist, this one on a back-door baseline pass to Aubree Johnson (6 points, 2 assists), capped the rally and put the Rockets up 41-32 with 2:04 to play.
“They wanted to win the game a lot more than we did, that’s all I can figure out,” St. Bede coach Tom McGunnigal said. “They looked like they wanted to be out there making plays at the end, and we didn’t look like we wanted to be out there at all.”
As smooth as the rally was, Rock Falls’ defense was the key in the final period. The Rockets (5-6) held the Bruins without a field goal in the fourth and held them scoreless for more than 9 minutes spanning the third and fourth quarters.
St. Bede (5-10) scored just four points – on four free throws – over the game’s final 11 minutes.
“I felt like our defense got a lot better, and that’s when our offense started working better,” Schrader said. “We got after them on defense, and started to move the ball better and find the openings when we had the ball.
“We got beat by a lot last week [against Riverdale], and we really wanted to make up for that bad game tonight … and I thought we did that.”
Both teams struggled early on against aggressive zone defenses, as Rock Falls shot 6-for-22 (27.3 percent) and had nine turnovers in the first half and St. Bede was 4-for-19 (21.1 percent) from the field and turned the ball over 14 times. The Rockets finished 14-for-39 (35.9 percent) with 17 turnovers, and the Bruins were 11-for-44 (25 percent) with 24 turnovers.
The Bruins opened the second half on a 6-0 run before Mammosser took over, with the key being 6-foot-3 senior Morgan Dean in the post. She scored 12 of St. Bede’s 14 third-quarter points, and finished with 15 points, 14 rebounds and a blocked shot.
Lydia Stariha added nine points, six rebounds and two steals for the Bruins, while Raley Mauck chipped in seven rebounds and Laura Sickley added three assists and two steals.
Jordan Giddings had 11 points, four rebounds, three steals and a block for Rock Falls, and Jessica Wind provided a spark off the bench with four points, four rebounds and two steals.
“This is what we’ve been waiting for, is people stepping up and taking charge,” Rock Falls coach Craig Mammosser said. “Jess stepped up on the defensive end, Bailey played a solid second half, and Morgan provided a nice spark for us. It’s good to see that, especially after we struggled so much Saturday.”
Rock Falls 44, St. Bede 36
Star of the game: Morgan Mammosser, RF, 14 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal
Key performers: Jordan Giddings, RF, 11 points, 4 rebounds, 3 steals, 1 block; Bailey Schrader, RF, 9 points, 4 rebounds, 2 steals; Morgan Dean, SB, 15 points, 14 rebounds, 1 block
Up next: Rock Falls at Oregon, 7:15 p.m. Friday