Valley City High School girls basketball coach Jim McDaniel was plenty pleased with how his team played in Tuesday’s 48-41 home loss to Fargo Davies.
All night long, the Hi-Liners set the pace of the game, came back from small deficits and continued to play with a balanced offensive attack.
“I thought we handled their size, I thought we handled their pressure fine, I liked the pace of the game,” McDaniel said. “I liked a lot of the things we did, the key stat for us is that we were 0 for 11 at the free-throw line.”
It was that 0-11 stat that came back to haunt the Hi-Liners.
Both teams finished with 16 two-point field goals and three 3-pointers for 41 points away from the line. The difference was at the line, where the Eagles went 7-14.
From the get go, the Hi-Liners played at a pace they wanted to.
All game long, they face a press from the Eagles, but, for the most part, avoided panicking and were able to get it into the offensive zone quickly. Once the ball got past half court, the team was either in position to get a quick basket or set up a patient, rotating offense.
Occassionally, the press would lead to a steal for the Eagles.
“We like the pace to be quick and fast and up and back,” McDaniel said. “That’s going to raise our turnovers (but) if we’re having turnovers because we’re trying to go up and back a lot, I can live with that.”
Although the pace was quick all game, the scoring didn’t start out hot. Both teams struggled shooting and Valley City struggled with turnovers.
Six minutes in, the Hi-Liners led 4-2, all four points from Jenna Jacob.
Valley City held a lead until Davies’ Whitney Syverson hit a layup and was fouled on the way up with 8:11 left in the first half. Syverson’s layup tied the game at 8-8, and the ensuing free throw made it 9-8.
The Hi-Liners then went on a seven point run to make it 15-9. Davies soon tied it again with three straight two-point shots, and took a 17-15 lead. Mariah Olstad hit a shot to tie it 17-17 in the final minute, but Davies hit one more shot to take a 19-17 lead into halftime.
Davies the second half with a 3-pointer by Alexis Bolstad to make it 22-17.
From there, Valley City’s Amanda Tangen found her rhythm and scored 10 of the game’s next 14 points to give the Hi-Liners a 29-22 lead.
The run gave her the only points she scored in the game.
In less than three minutes, Davies tied it up again and then had a 35-31 lead after Bolstad hit a free throw with seven minutes left.
Valley City kept it close the rest of the way but missed key free throws.
In the final minutes, Allyson Suhr hit a layup to tie the game at 39 and shortly after Jacob hit a shot to take a 41-39 lead with 2:47 left.
Jacob’s shot was the last points the Hi-Liners scored as the Eagles went on a 9-0 run to finish the game.
Valley City continued its trend of balanced scoring. Three players — Suhr, Jacob and Tangen — led the team with 10 points each. Olstad had six and Megan McDaniel finished with five.
“We got scoring from a number of people,” Jim McDaniel said. “I can’t be more proud of them.”