Through an uncharacteristic 7-15 girls' basketball season for the Moline Maroons, Coach Steve Ford knows that their schedule has brought them a lot of tough games with a lot of tough outcomes.
Maybe the toughest to swallow, though, was Thursday night, a 58-49 Western Big 6 Conference loss at Wharton Field House to the Galesburg Silver Streaks.
In particular, the last one minute and 42 seconds of the game.
That was when the Maroons -- who had frustrated Galesburg by getting the better of them on defense and on the boards -- stepped to the line after a technical-foul whistle on the Streaks' leader, Jessica Lieber.
Moline senior Jordan de los Reyes made one of those two free throws. Moline then was fouled on the inbound for two more free ones.
The back end of de los Reyes' shots, though, was the last point the Maroons scored in falling to 2-4 in the WB6.
"It's hard to swallow when you have that opportunity to win and come up short," said Ford. "You expend that much energy and that much fight and it doesn't result in a win."
In fact, the technical wound up more negatively affecting Moline than Lieber. Lieber scored four of Galesburg's last 10 points to finish with a game-high 22.
"When I looked up at the scoreboard at halftime and saw that Lieber had just six points, I felt really good about the defensive effort we had on her," said Ford.
The thing about Lieber, though, is that that's barely a dent in her armor. She also led the Streaks in assists with a pair and steals with five.
"We want the ball in her hands," said Galesburg coach Evan Massey, whose team improves to 14-6, 4-2 in the WB6.
Moline led 28-22 at halftime, however three steals in the first 55 seconds of the second half led to a pair of Lieber 3-pointers that helped put the Streaks up 30-28. Though Galesburg built that lead to 37-32, Moline chipped away until tying the game at 48.
That is when the "T" came, on a loose ball that went out of bounds under Moline's basket. And when the clock started moving again, Moline's point-scoring didn't.
"We're still taking positives away from this," said Ford. "We took steps in a great direction. "We had outstanding efforts by all individuals."
Some were surprising, as in the game-high 11 rebounds by 5-foot-3 guard Kristina Bozickovic. Some were long-awaited, as in the shooting of de los Reyes, who hit five straight field goals in the middle quarters en route to 17 points. And some were all-around stellar, with Morgan Gerard getting 17 points on 7-of-12 shooting and adding eight rebounds to the mix.
Today is Tuesday, Dec. 10, the 344th day of 2013. There are 21 days left in the year. 1863 -- 150 years ago: We give "the government" the benefit of our circulation free of charge, for two advertisements for mules, horses and forage. 1888 -- 125 years ago: The official board of the First Methodist Church voted to build a new church. 1913 -- 100 years ago: W.A. Reid was elected commander of Siboney Bay Camp No. 8, United Spanish War Veterans. 1938 -- 75 years ago: Mrs. Blanche S. Osborne, of Rock Island, is the only woman in the city who is a member of the American Legion. 1963 -- 50 years ago: The Rocket Barbershop Chorus, under the direction of Howard Mesecher, will present a concert of barbershop songs at the December meeting of the Woman's Club of Moline at 2 Saturday afternoon in Scottish Rite Cathedral. 1988 -- 25 years ago: Helen A. Stone, of Moline, traded her organ's bench for a seat in the pew when she retired as church organist of Union Congregational Church, Moline, recently. She's been playing either piano or organ for the church for 61 years.