AKRON — The Wildcats lost to Bremen in the opening round of the Tippecanoe Valley Thanksgiving Classic on Nov. 24, 55-27.
“We did not play with much enthusiasm or passion,” coach Rick Bragg said. “While Bremen is a quality, top-rate team, I was disappointed that we did not put up much of a fight.”
Whitko struggled offensively throughout the contest, making only three free throws in the first quarter, falling behind 10-3.
For the whole game, Whitko only managed six field goals.
Bremen held a 23-11 lead at halftime, and went on an 18-6 run in the third quarter to have a 41-17 advantage going into the fourth quarter.
Emalee Duggins was the leading scorer with 11 points, followed by Ellie Snep with eight points. Snep also had 13 rebounds. Sarah Hewitt recorded five points and Kayla Schipper scored three.
In the afternoon game of the tournament, Whitko’s effort did a complete turnaround, and the Wildcats only lost by three points to a competitive Goshen squad, 50-47.
“I do not believe in moral victories, but without question this was our best performance of the season,” Bragg said. “Despite the loss, we played as well as we could, executed a good game plan and played with heart and desire, which is where the expectation level is.”
The contest was close throughout, as Goshen held a slim, 14-13 lead after one quarter.
Whitko jumped on Goshen in the second quarter, taking a 28-21 lead before the Redhawks scored the last seven points of the half to even the score at 28 at halftime.
Goshen regained the lead, 38-36, heading into the last quarter, when the game became a back-and-forth battle.
Whitko was trailing by one point late in the game, and the Wildcats missed a block out on a free-throw shooter. She nabbed her own rebound, and Whitko was forced to foul again. She went on to make both free throws.
“Despite that lapse, I am incredibly pleased and proud of the kids,” Bragg said. “We did not play well that morning against Bremen, but they came back and played really well tonight.”
Duggins scored 23 points to lead the team.
“Emi was a force. Goshen simply could not stop her,” Bragg said.
Snep scored 11 points and had 16 rebounds. Schipper contributed nine points, and Hewitt added four.
The Wildcats have a short break before hosting North Miami on Dec. 1 in a Three Rivers Conference matchup.