Lady Cougars continue to grow in tough week of loss

John Michaels
IVN Contributing Writer

The Illinois Valley High School girls basketball team traveled for a pair of nonconference games and a single Valley Coast Conference game in basketball last week, posting a 0-3 record over the week. The Lady Cougars sit at 1-8 for the year right now with a 0-1 VCC mark.
The Lady Cougars have been struggling on offense and this week was no exception. The Cougars scored 10 points in a quarter just once all week. In the remaining 11 quarters, I.V. was held to single digits 10 times and totally blanked one time.
Illinois Valley traveled to Bonanza Tuesday and dropped a 47-20 decision to the Antlers. Bonanza opened the game with a 22-5 salvo in the first period and never looked back. The Antlers increased the lead to 35-10 at the half and gave their bench considerable playing time in the second half.
The bright spot for the Lady Cougars was that seven different players found their way into the scoring column. Evelyn Guzman was the point leader with six points. Jesse Pope had four. The pair of juniors has done the majority of the scoring for I.V. this year, but five other players got into the box score against the Antlers. Senior Shelby Reed managed three points, junior Kaleigh Box, freshman Kava Rose and sophomore Emily Hall each scored a basket. Finally, sophomore Jaiden Bowen hit a free thrown to tally a point.
On Thursday, the Lady Cougars traveled to Merlin and took on North Valley. The Lady Knights, who are undefeated on the year and boast a Colley ranking of No. 8 in the state, had little trouble with I.V. on the way to a 58-10 victory. The opening quarter gave hope for optimism as the Cougs trailed 14-6 after the initial period. However, the Cougars would be held to single field goals in the second and third quarters by the tenacious North Valley defense. The Cougars failed to score in the final quarter as well.
Pope scored eight points and Guzman got the other basket for the Lady Cougars.
On Saturday, Illinois Valley traveled to Monroe for the VCC opener and dropped a 61-37 decision to the Dragons. Monroe is the 10th ranked team in 2A according OSAA.
Once again the Cougars had reason for optimism after the first quarter, trailing just 14-9 after one period. The closes the Dragons came away to running away from I.V. was the second stanza, when they outscored the Lady Cougars 18-10 to take a 32-19 lead into the break.
Illinois Valley did not let the Dragons dominate in any quarter, but did wind up getting outscored in both the third and fourth quarters resulting in the 24 point loss.
Another possible light at the end of the tunnel is that once again there were four additional Cougars scoring for I.V. after the Guzman-Pope duo. Guzman again led I.V. with 18 points and Pope added eight. Box was able to hit a 3-pointer and a free throw to tally four points. Alexis Lea nailed a 3-pointer in the third quarter. Six-foot junior Carlotta Bosse scored a bucket and Reed added two free throws.
The Cougars have a pair of Valley Coast Conference games against ranked opponents this week, hosting second-ranked East Linn Christian Tuesday and traveling on Thursday for a game with No. 13 Oakridge.