By Travis Smola
The Vicksburg varsity girls’ basketball team is having a great year, with a 12-7 record as the season winds down.
“The season has been incredible, honestly,” Head Coach Tim Kirby said after a 45-34 loss against Portage Central.
Most of the losses by the Bulldogs this year have been in tougher matchups like Edwardsburg and Otsego. Earlier in the year the team lost to Paw Paw before taking the rematch 55-44.
“Our losses are against good teams,” Kirby said. “We’re 12-7 and five. Our losses are to the best teams in the area. We compete with everybody and I’m happy about that. We’re so young, and we’ll learn. We’ll learn from this one.”
Against the Mustangs, Vicksburg jumped out to an early lead before Portage Central firmly took control.
“I thought in the first half we got shots, we just didn’t make shots,” Kirby said. “We’ve hung our hat in the second half of the season on our energy and our effort. I didn’t feel like we played as hard that game as we have been.”
Maddison Diekman was leading scorer for the Bulldogs, scoring 18 points that came from three 3-pointers, a field goal, and seven free throws. Emma Steele was the next leading scorer with 10 points. Kendra Cooley had four points, and Karyna Lewis had two. The team played much better in the fourth quarter. Unfortunately, Vicksburg ran out of time before it could truly capitalize.
“We kind of caught fire there in the fourth quarter. It was a bit too little, too late,” Kirby said.
The team didn’t really change up anything except the intensity in the second half of the game. Kirby believes it would have been a different story if they had kept that pressure on the Mustangs for the entire game.
“Honestly, we didn’t change anything at the end of the game, we just decided to be aggressive,” he said. “In the first half we were just tentative to shoot the ball.”
He also noted the defensive scheme may have also compounded to making things more difficult for the Bulldogs.
“We’ve haven’t played a whole lot of one-on-one this year and they kind of tripped us up in that.” Kirby added, “If we maybe had the intensity we had in the fourth quarter for the first three quarters, it would have been a different ballgame.”
Despite the loss, the Bulldogs should be in a good position once the postseason starts. Kirby noted he’s already looking forward to District play.
By Travis Smola