Offensive struggles haunt East Mills in loss

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By Joel Stevens, Associate Editor

    The East Mills girls were held scoreless in the first quarter and scored a season-low six first half points in a 58-14 loss to Stanton Friday in Corner Conference girls basketball.

    The Wolverines (4-11 overall, 3-6 in the conference) hit just 7-of-29 shots in the game (24.1 percent) and had just three girls score in the loss. Stanton also held a 36 to 23 rebounding edge.
    Kendra Croghan scored 10 points to lead the Wolverines. Katie Sowers and Stephanie McGrew each had a bucket.
    Carmen Subbert led Stanton with 21 points.

Nishnabotna 51,
East Mills 32
    Playing without point guard and leading scorer Devin Laughlin, the East Mills girls basketball team struggled against the Nishnabotna press in a 51-32 loss last Tuesday.
    Laughlin, who looked on from the bench in street clothes after tearing ligaments in her ankle Jan. 17, watched Nishnabotna’s press trouble  the Wolverines from the opening tip. East Mills turned the ball over seven of the first eight times they touched the ball and trailed 10-2 after four minutes and 13-3 at the end of a quarter.
    “We knew they would press us,” said East Mills coach Jeff Laughlin. “We’re young and inexperienced and some of the girls had to play out of position but I told the girls, ‘Yeah, we had a lot of turnovers but I thought we did a lot of good things.’ And I think, actually, down the road, it will help us, once we get Devin back, it will help the girls with their confidence.”
    East Mills didn’t reach double-figures until Katie Sowers’ free throw with 2:44 left in the first half. But the Wolverines wouldn’t fold so easily. Sowers, who scored 12 of the Wolverines’ 16 first half points, scored seven straight in the last two minutes of the half to trim the Blue Devils’ lead to 26-16 before it swelled back to 29-16 at the half.
    The Wolverines played even with the Blue Devils in the third quarter.
    “We kept it right in a 10 to 12 point range for most of the game,” Coach Laughlin said. “I thought our defense played pretty well. We did get some turnovers, we didn’t give up a lot of easy looks. We seem to execute a little bit better on defense than offense.”
    In the fourth, the Blue Devils rattled off five straight points to go up 43-25. The Wolverines managed to claw back to 41-30 with 4:16 to on Sowers’ jumper but they could get no closer. Nishnabotna’s lead swelled to as many as 21 in the final frame.
    The rough and tumble conference game featured 40 fouls and 53 free throws between the two teams. That was about what Coach Laughlin expected after the two times combined for 46 fouls and 43 free throws in a December meeting won by the Blue Devils 33-26.
    “When we played them before thats kind of how they played defensively,” Coach Laughlin said. “They’re aggressive on defense. They’re not a halfcourt offensive team, their offense comes from their defense. We did a good job attacking them and drawing fouls but we didn’t do a good job hitting free throws.”
    The Wolverines finished 15-of-28 at the line. The Blue Devils connected on 13-of-25 at the charity stripe.
    Sowers led the Wolverines with  19 points. Stephanie McGrew added four points and four rebounds.
    Devin Laughlin, who is the coach’s daughter, could be back as early as next week, depending on her pain tolerance, said Coach Laughlin
    “They said she could probably come back,” he saiad. “She tore ligaments and they won’t be healed this year but doctors said that she can put a brace on it and possibly fight through it if she wants to.”