Top-ranked 'Cats overwhelm Ed-Co

Maquoketa Valley defenders Emerson Whittenbaugh (21) and Taya Tucker pressure an Edgewood-Colesburg player during the season-opening game Nov. 24 in Delhi. (Photos by Pete Temple)

Ella Imler of the Wildcats (15) launches a three-point shot in the win over Ed-Co.

     Maquoketa Valley started this girls basketball season as the top-ranked team in Class 1A.

     The Wildcats certainly lived up to it in their season opener.

     Emerson Whittenbaugh scored 23 points, and the Wildcats overwhelmed Edgewood-Colesburg 65-22 Nov. 24 in Delhi.

     It was a redemption of sorts for everyone involved, successfully getting the first game in during this time of the COVID pandemic. In particular, that applies to Whittenbaugh, who missed all of last season with a knee injury but returned to shoot 10-for-13 from the floor. She scored 18 of her points in the first half.

     “It just felt great to be back playing and watching all the kids from both teams compete,” Maquoketa Valley coach Scot Moenck said.

     “I can’t begin to tell you how happy I am for Emerson. This has been a long wait for her. A lot of hard work and tears went into her rehab.”

     It was a big night for several Wildcats. Ella Imler shot 7-for-12 from the field and scored 18 points, and led the team in steals with seven and in assists with six. Taya Tucker recorded a double-double, with 15 points and 10 rebounds, and also contributed five assists and five steals. Kennedy Rausch had five rebounds and four steals. Carissa Sabers and Whittenbaugh had four steals apiece.

     “I thought all the kids really contributed in a lot of different ways,” Moenck said.

     Ed-Co made it look as though it might offer a challenge to MV at the start of this one, taking an early 9-6 lead. But the Wildcats, with an aggressive full-court press and physical play throughout, went on a 30-5 run for the rest of the half to take a 36-14 lead at the break.

     “The Ed-Co kids played hard and hit some shots early,” Moenck said. “They have improved since last year. We had a lot of defensive breakdowns and some turnovers you wouldn’t expect from our kids. But once we settled in we were more patient on both sides of the floor.”



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