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Saturday, January 4, 2014

Argus Spin on Rocky's Win

The following was written in the Argus by Marc Nessler about our game vs. Rocky. Most of the story is about the freshmen Hoover. It is interesting to note what is not mentioned in the story. No where does he mention Rocky shooting 37 free throws to Galesburg's 5 free throw attempts. Interesting....

ROCK ISLAND – Rock Island sophomore Mariah Hoover knew that if she wanted to be on the floor at the end of girls' basketball games, she had to start making free throws.

Because of a lot of work at the line after practices in the past several weeks, Mariah was there at the end of Friday night's Western Big 6 Conference game against Galesburg. She hit 6-of-6 free throws in the final two minutes to help the Rocks fend off the Silver Streaks, 62-55.

"She had her two best games in the last two we played at the Normal Classic, against the two best teams we've faced, Morton and Springfield," RI coach Thad Hoover said of his youngest daughter. "She has put in a lot of time after practice and keeps getting better and better."

Given that Mariah was 20-of-41 (49 percent) from the line going into the game and was 4-of-8 through three quarters, it might have seemed surprising that the ball was in her hands at the point-guard position late. Then again, Coach Hoover knew the ability was there.

"She and other freshman point guard (Justice Edell) were pretty good shooters at the 9th and 8th grade levels last year," he said. "They just needed to adjust to the style and level of play."

Upping those free-throw numbers became an obsession for Mariah.

"At the beginning of the season, all of my free throws were off," said Mariah, who had been shooting a paltry 25 percent at the line three weeks into the season. "But my dad helped me; we practiced and practiced. He told me I'd get better and that practice finally paid off."

Hitting 10-of-14 free throws vs. the Streaks, Mariah led the Rocks with 14 points. She also shared the rebound lead with Annika Anderson with six, and was one off the team lead in steals with three.

Suddenly that free-throw percentage has more than doubled in a month, up to 55 percent.

Edell, too, was stellar at the line, going 4-for-4, all in the second half.

"She struggled at the line, too, at the beginning," RI senior leader Carlee Hoover said of the freshman Edell. "She'd stand off to the side, saying her shot curved that way. Dad got her back to shooting from the center."

Edell's four makes moved her FT percentage to 72 for the season.

It was away from the line where the Rocks struggled mightily, hitting just 17-of-65 field-goal attempts. That is what kept the Streaks (10-6), who had won nine of their last 10 going in, within range despite committing 36 turnovers.

The win enabled the Rocks (11-3) to move back into a share of the Big 6 lead with United Township and Moline at 3-1. The Streaks are 1-3 in the league.

The Rocks had two others in double-figure scoring, Carlee Hoover and Shamia Clark each with 13 points.

Galesburg had two big scorers in Shayli Florine with 19 and Haley Kelso with 17. Outside of the eight added from Sabina Clay, who fouled out midway through the fourth quarter, the rest of the Streaks only accounted for 11 points on 4-of-13 shooting.

Clay and Florine played much of the second half in foul trouble. They combined for 23 rebounds, Florine with game honors of 12. 

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