Most coaches are always striving for a better effort from their performers, win or lose -- always seeking improvement, that's probably a strong trait of a successful tutor.
The McCook Community College women's basketball team defeated North Platte C.C. 86-69 Tuesday , Jan. 29, at the MCC Events Center.
Lady Indians interim head coach Kylee Rinehart found plenty of areas her team needs improvement in despite a somewhat comfortable winning margin and watching her team improve to 17-4 overall.
"We were not defensive rebounding at all. We weren't boxing out," Rinehart said. "North Platte did a good job of scoring on their second chances and second opportunities. We weren't aggressive on the boards defensively and we really weren't aggressive defensively.
"We weren't stopping the ball at half-court and we were letting it get all the way to the (basket). We only trapped a couple of times -- every time we trapped there was a turnover. To have that constant pressure all the time requires a lot of work. We didn't have it all."
One uncomfortable aspect of Tuesday's win for Coach Rinehart was watching North Platte battle back into the game after MCC built a 23-point lead midway through the second half.
"We've got to always look at the big picture," Rinehart said. "We can't let teams keep crawling back especially by just the little things. It was boxing out, it was rebounding, that was a huge factor for us. If we would have just boxed out, if we would have just stopped the ball, just those little things would have made the big difference. No telling what the final score could have looked like."
McCOOK CLOSED the first half on a 13-2 run over a three-minute span to take a 44-27 lead. Julie Gallegos hit a pair of 3-point shots in the MCC spurt, including a long-range bomb in the final seconds to send the Lady Indians to the locker room with a momentum boost.
"Julie, she's that momentum kid for us," Rinehart said. "The girls love that NBA 'three' that she shoots. They're mad at her when she doesn't shoot it. That was great momentum."
Rinehart said she was literally yelling at Gallegos for not denying a pass on defense from the previous North Platte possession while Julie was hitting the late 3-pointer.
MCC EARNED its biggest lead of the contest with 11 minutes left in the second half. A 3-pointer by Shelby Hemmann and Hemmann's layup following a long outlet pass from Amir Davis put MCC ahead 68-45.
North Platte cut the deficit to 71-59 with just under seven minutes left. The Lady Knights got within 10 points with four minutes left, but McCook never let the lead get below double digits the rest of the way.
Akia Davis had a big night for MCC with 25 points and 6 rebounds. Hemmann added 18 points and 6 boards. Five other Lady Indians scored at least 6 points.
North Platte, 12-9, was led by former Holdrege standout Paige Hasty with 18 points and 12 rebounds.
MCC hit 23 of 37 free throws, while North Platte was 7 of 10 at the line.
WITH THE TWO campuses about an hour apart, MCC and North Platte are strong rivals in every college sport. Coach Rinehart said her squad wanted the rivalry bragging rights -- and they have that, at least for a few weeks before the two teams meet again in North Platte Feb. 13.
"Their blood was pumping before this game. Mine started getting a little adrenaline rolling through it before the game," Rinehart said.