After the opening quarter Tuesday night, the Lady Hound girls basketball team was unable to generate a consistent flow of offense.
It made fighting back from a double-digit second quarter deficit have the feel of running in place.
The Lady Hounds best surge of the night pulled them within five at the start of the second half, but they got no closer in a 46-32 loss to Chillicothe that extended their losing skid to nine and kept them winless against MEC competition.
Chillicothe used a 7-0 run to stretch its lead to 12 in the third quarter. The Hornets (10-10, 1-3) kept it at eight or above from then on, even though the Lady Hounds (5-16, 0-5) had plenty of opportunities to make things a lot more interesting.
"We just couldn't get any momentum," said Maryville head girls basketball coach Grant Hageman. "I didn't feel like once they stretched it out to 19-11 or whatever it was, we couldn't get any momentum back. It all just stayed even the rest of the game after that. It was frustrating that we didn't kind of rally back and fight back a little bit."
The Lady Hounds lacked the offensive firepower needed to make up ground.
Maryville finished just 13-43 (.302) from the field, made one three-pointer and scored under 10 points in each of the last three quarters. Its final total only doubled the output from Thursday's 53-16 loss to Smithville.
"It comes down to making shots," said Hageman. "When you make shots, everything looks great. Everything shines. Even your defense looks better. Tonight, I thought our defense had to be perfect, and against a team like that where it's hard to match up against them, that's hard to do."
Long and lean at almost every spot, Chillicothe turned it over more than the Lady Hounds did, but also made five more shots from the field and two more three's. They did so while shooting 50 percent in the second and third quarters.
Maryville tinkered with a zone defense in the first half, but gave up on it after a period where the taller Hornets crushed them on the offensive glass.
"Our zone was effective to a point, but they were getting too many offensive rebounds," said Hageman. "It was kind of pick your poison tonight."
The Hornets spread their offense out as much as possible, with seven players contributing at least four points. Senior guard Madison Williams led all scorers with nine points. Lexi Snyder and Maggie Graves each had eight. Erin Gilliland finished with seven.
Maryville's leading scorers were Chelsea Byland, Baylee Scarbrough and Blair Twaddle, each with eight points. Gabby Church and Chelsey McMichael had four apiece. Twaddle hit the team's only three way back in the first quarter.
Page 2 of 3 - "We got to hit shots and we got to have people start to take charge on the offensive end, not be passive," said Hageman. "I thought we were really passive. We had been executing well against man-to-man. I'm frustrated we didn't play better against it."
Maryville's offensive execution was at its best in the first quarter.
After giving up the first four points, the Hounds hit three straight perimeter shots—one of those a three from Twaddle—to lead 7-6.
The Hounds led once more at 9-8 on a Church bank shot.
With the game tied, Snyder gave the Hornets a 13-11 lead they never relinquished near the end of the first quarter.
Turnovers by Maryville on each of its first five second quarter possessions allowed Chillicothe to spread its lead to 18-11 on a Snyder bank three and a Gilliland steal and layup.
After a jumper by Twaddle, the Hornets ran off six more points to lead 24-13.
The Hornets didn't score again the rest of the half, and two post bank shots from Scarbrough made it 24-17.
Maryville missed two shots in the final minute of the half that would've made the halftime score closer.
The Hounds eventually did cut Chilli's lead to 24-19 on a bank shot by Church in the third quarter.
On their next possession, Byland missed with a chance to make it a three-point game.
Chillicothe scored on its next three possessions—the last a right wing three from Gilliland—to lead 31-19 with 5:28 left.
Another three from Williams later in the quarter restored Chilli's 12-point lead, and a jumper by Snyder gave the Hornets their largest lead of 38-24.
The Hounds entered the fourth quarter down by 13 points and held Chillicothe without a field goal for the first 4:52.
In that time, they were only able to reduce the deficit to eight.
Back-to-back baskets from Scarbrough—the first set up by an inbounds turnover—made it 40-32 with under four minutes left.
The Hornets ended their drought on the next possession with a driving layup by Williams and closed the game on a 6-0 run.
Still without a win since Jan. 11, Maryville has three more tries left in the regular season to get one.
First up is Benton Thursday night in St. Joseph.
"We tell them all the time that life and basketball is 10 percent what happens to you and 90 percent how you react to it," said Hageman. "It would be easy to lay down right now. We got three games left. We'll find players that want to come out and keep fighting. If we do that, we'll keep getting better for this year."
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