DIXON – Newman had the hustle and desire part covered in its girls basketball game against Rockford East on Wednesday at the Dixon Holiday Tournament.
Shooting and protecting the ball were another matter, however, and the Comets suffered a 55-38 loss to the E-Rabs in Lancaster Gymnasium.
The Comets (4-8) shot a frosty 18 percent (11-for-61) from the field and coughed up 25 turnovers and against a sticky East defense. E-Rab defenders came up with 19 steals to help their cause.
“We were down 12 points with 4½, 5 minutes to go in the game, which is still doable,” Newman coach Joe Salvatori said. “Then we had quite a few bad passes. We weren’t dribbling with control. I think sometimes we just want to get rid of the ball instead of protecting it. I always tell them that each possession is very important, but we didn’t play like that.”
Newman did have a 39-32 advantage in rebounding, with many of the possessions including multiple field goal attempts. Too many of the possessions proved fruitless, however.
“We kept rebounding and rebounding, but the shots just wouldn’t fall,” senior forward Lauren Wilson said. “We worked hard, but you’ve got to put the ball in the basket, and we didn’t do that this game.”
East (10-6) was in control most of the way, and seized an 18-point lead (43-25) with 1:07 left in the third quarter after a basket from Halee Bergstrom.
Newman clawed back to within 12 points (45-33) after a 3-point play from Wilson with 4:44 on the clock, and a free throw by Wilson kept the Comets within that margin again at 46-34 at the 2:50 mark.
East responded with a 3 from Bergstrom with 2:30 to go, and the E-Rabs were not threatened again.
“I didn’t know what Newman had whatsoever, so we just focused on what we could do,” East coach L.A. Malone said. “We’ve got pretty decent guards, some good pressure, and we just tried to go inside to our bigs.”
The main big was Erin Stroberg, a 6-foot senior who will play at McKendree next season. Stroberg was 9-for-12 from the field for 19 points, and she also had 14 rebounds, five steals and two blocks.
“She’s a great kid, with pretty decent footwork,” Malone said. “Erin is a joy to have.”
Bergstrom finished with 13 points for East, and Mariah Hill added seven points, four steals and two boards.
Madison Craft paced a balanced Newman attack with 10 points, Savannah
Skinner had nine, and Wilson added four points, eight rebounds and five steals.
“If we just make a few more of our shots, the girls get into the game, it puts more pressure on them, and you have something to go on,” Salvatori said. “We just didn’t make shots.”
Rockford East 55, Newman 38
Star of the game: Erin Stroberg, East, 19 points, 14 rebounds, 5 steals
Key performers: Madison Craft, Newman, 10 points; Lauren Wilson, Newman, 4 points, 8 rebounds, 5 steals; Halee Bergstrom, East, 13 points
Up next: Newman vs. Sterling, noon today (Reagan M.S.); Rockford East vs. Eastland, noon today (Dixon H.S.)