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Coach Pierce during a timeout

Coach Bryce Pierce rallies the troops during a timeout vs. South Tama.

INDEPENDENCE – The Independence girls’ basketball team hosted Benton Community (13-7) in the Mustangs gym on February 7. It was a rough night for the Mustangs, losing their ninth straight game. The final score was 59-22.

It was also Senior Night for Independence, and four girls were recognized before the game – Jadyn Schultz, Mary Puffett, Sophie Wolf, and Anna Ruffcorn.

Even in loss, Head Coach Bryce Pierce sees continuous improvement.

“Going back to the other night, I’d say the biggest thing I’m noticing out of my girls is our desire to play hard continues to progress,” said Coach Pierce. “There were times at the beginning of the year where I wasn’t sure if someone was going to go after a loose ball, and now I’m shocked if I don’t have two or three girls in the area fighting for a ball. I love it.”

Pierce continued, “It really shows that even though we’ve faced some tough situations this year we have built an attitude about ourselves that shows we’re going to compete hard all the time, and I’m really proud of the girls for that.”

This game means nothing in the grand scheme of things. Yeah, the girls lost. Yeah, they’re having a tough year. But for those parents and fans who have suffered through the past four years with these amazing girls, this is a time for remembrance and gratification. These four girls stuck it out through one- and two-win seasons and, let’s be honest, really tough times. These seniors are the backbone to the future of this program. They lead by example, and for the younger girls, what better role models could you ask for.

Coach Pierce had nothing but great things to say about these four girls.

“These seniors will always be special to me. They gave me a shot to coach them, and I’m so glad they did. They stepped up as leaders for our program this year and that made my job easier as the season progressed,” said Pierce. “They organized team activities outside of practice to really enhance our team bonding, and I think that helped us become closer.”

In conclusion, Pierce added, “Along with many others, [we] are glad they wanted to contribute all they did to Independence girls’ basketball. They have left this program in a better place than where we were at the beginning of the season, and I’m very proud of them for helping us get to that point.”

SCORING BY QUARTER

IND | 05 | 12 | 00 | 05 22

BC | 17 | 21 | 18 | 03 59

INDEE GIRLS LOSE

HEARTBREAKER AT STC

STC 36, Independence 27

TAMA – The Indee girls travelled to Tama for the last game of the regular season and battled the South Tama County (STC) Trojans (0-20) in a WaMaC West tilt. The Mustangs lost a heartbreaker, giving up a 14-point lead and losing 36-27.

Independence lead at the half, 17-8, and actually extended their lead to 23-9 with just over three minutes left in the third period. Then the wheels fell off. STC went on a 19-0 run to take a 28-23 lead with two minutes left in the game.

The Mustangs got in some foul trouble down the stretch, but that’s far from the reason why they lost this one. It wasn’t that STC pressured Indee and created turnovers. It was a matter of execution on the offensive side and a lack of desire to go after rebounds on the defensive side. Second- (and third-) chance points for the Trojans proved to be the ultimate downfall.

Senior Jadyn Schultz led the team with 9 points and several rebounds. The always improving sophomore Shanna Kleve added 8 points, while senior Mary Puffett poured in 6. Senior Sophie Wolf contributed with 2 points and senior Anna Ruffcorn and freshman Madyson Ristvedt scored 1 point each to round out the scoring.

SCORING BY QUARTER

IND | 05 | 12 | 06 | 04 ─ 27

ST | 04 | 04 | 08 | 20 ─ 36

Independence falls to 3-18. Up next, the Indee girls start postseason play with a trip to Waterloo Columbus Catholic (8-14) tonight at 5 p.m.