GALESBURG – The 3-point shot is the sword of the Galesburg girls' basketball team. They live by it; they die by it.|
Against Moline at John Thiel Gymnasium on Tuesday night in their Western Big 6 Conference opener, it was a dagger, one that took the life out of the Maroons after a valiant comeback.
The Silver Streaks hit 13 3-pointers – six in a critical stretch when Moline had pulled to within just two points midway through the third quarter – en route to a convincing 71-52 victory.
"It's contagious," lamented Moline coach Steve Ford of Galesburg's flurry. "They hit one and the lead just flies from there."
The thing is, the 3s also were the undoing of the Streaks (4-1), with a string of long-range misses enabling the Maroons (1-1) to almost deplete what was once a 15-point deficit. The Streaks were 0-for-9 beyond the arc right before that string of long makes.
"You've just got to keep shooting," said Galesburg's Jessica Lieber, who led the Streaks with 23 points, hitting 5-of-13 3s. "In our system, you can't be shy about shooting."
Case in point: Lieber missed four straight 3s to start the third quarter. From there, she hit 4-of-7, and was a contagious spark that led to her teammates going 4-for-5 in that stretch.
Those eight 3s equate to 24 points, way too much for the Maroons to handle at that juncture.
"We didn't have the opportunity to prepare; we were hoping our seniors would carry us through," said Ford, noting that the Maroons had just played just one game coming in. "We will make sure we are prepared for Galesburg the next time around."
That might explain Galesburg's 17-2 lead in the first five minutes of the game. Yet, Moline chipped away until the Maroons trailed just 34-32 with four minutes left in the third quarter.
That, however, is when the Streaks reheated.
"Our problem so far is that we've been too tentative shooting," said Galesburg coach Evan Massey, glad for the change of chart for shot selections. "We made shots early and that helped with our confidence."
Galesburg had just one other double-digit scorer, Sharron Diggins with 11, but there were four others with eight apiece.
Morgan Gerard led Moline with 11 points and seven rebounds. Lily Eastman, with three 3s, and Marley Patrick came off the bench to score nine points apiece.
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