Slow start dooms Waterville/Mansfield girls in loss to Tonasket

By David Heiling
Empire Press Correspondent

In action against Tonasket, Alyssa Hanson moves the ball, along with Sarah Mullen (13), Lexi Dieshl (22) and Elizabeth Katovich (10). (Provided photo/Stephanie Stibal)

TONASKET — The Waterville/Mansfield girls basketball team got off to a slow start against the host Tigers on Jan. 20 up north, and ultimately could not get out of the hole it dug itself in a 41-35 loss.

Although the team came out of the gates sluggish, the Shockers outscored their opponents in the second half to cut the final margin to just 6 points. As usual, Waterville/Mansfield played stellar defense apart from the first half.

The Shockers actually cut the deficit to four points in the second half but didn’t have enough gas in the tank to finish the comeback. Coach Kieth Finkbeiner said his team did better on the offensive and defensive glass in the second half and that it was a focus in the halftime locker room speech.

“We played with a little more fire and intensity there in the final two quarters to make a game of it,” Finkbeiner said.

A key part of the contest came at the charity stripe. Waterville/Mansfield was able to convert on just 5-of-16 free throw attempts while the Tigers made 17-of-21.

In contrast to the successes the Shockers have seen on the defensive side of the ball, scoring points continues to be a weak point for the team. Finkbeiner said he needs to see contributions in the scoring column for a few more players on a consistent basis to be able to score in the 50s or 60s.

“Tonasket switched defense site a bit and that slowed us down,” Finkbeiner said. “The second quarter was our lowers quarter and we need to be able to find someone to score continually every game, especially on the interior. Need some more baskets inside and that is one area of focus for us right now.”

Elizabeth Katovich led Waterville/Mansfield in scoring with 15 points. Alyssa Hansen scored 8, and Justine Clements added 7.