Girls letting potential wins slip out of their grasp

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Manitou forward Cassidy Kuzbek looks for an open teammate during the Mustangs’ loss at Vanguard on Jan. 24.

We’ve lost a few games in a row that we should have won. – Grace Allen

Story and photo by Daniel Mohrmann

The Manitou Springs girls basketball team has shown improvement through the course of the season, but the players still need to figure out a tough lesson as they reach a crucial point in the season.

When the Mustangs’ opponents are able to get momentum and go on a run late in the games, it’s difficult to slow that momentum and not let a potential win slip through their fingers.

“It comes with experience and experience playing with four other girls on the floor,” coach Juliana Argyle says. “We have to take care of the ball in tight situations. It’s crucial and we just get frazzled.”

That was the case on Jan. 24, when the Mustangs (6-8 overall, 4-4 Tri-Peaks) fell to Vanguard 55-45. The Mustangs trailed by just five points at halftime, but the lead increased to eight after the third quarter. The Mustangs exploded for 21 points in the fourth quarter and cut the lead down to six, but the Coursers were able to keep the lead just out of reach.

“It’s kind of frustrating because we’ve lost a few games in a row that we should have won,” Grace Allen says. “Hopefully, we can use it as motivation to push ourselves and get through the end of the season successfully.”

Allen’s effort added to her record-setting season. After setting the single-game steals record earlier in the year, she tied the single-game rebounding record in the loss to Vanguard. She pulled down 19 of them, eight of which came on the offensive side. It was all part of her effort to help the Mustangs battle back from a double-digit deficit in the second half.

There were certainly positives to build on late in the game. Madrid Mack knocked down two badly needed shots and McKesson Rhodes had one of her best offensive outputs of the season, scoring 13 points. Allen led the Mustangs with 20.

“We have to keep our head up,” Argyle says. “I feel like, defensively, we had a great game. People came off the bench ready to contribute.”

The Mustangs are back in action on Friday, Jan. 27, when they host Banning Lewis. A win there would snap a three-game losing streak.

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