Lauren Kaldenberg

LAUREN KALDENBERG comes out to guard Alex Griggs.

Last year the Albia girls had a couple of non-conference games to get their sea legs for a new season. And that was with a veteran ball club.

On Tuesday the girls basketball team met defending champion Knoxville at Knoxville, without as much as a scrimmage with another team to see what they needed to do to prepare for the conference season.

It wasn’t pretty. The Panthers are the overwhelming favorite to repeat as conference champions, sporting three first team All-SCC returnees to a team that finished 16-7 and edged Chariton for the conference crown.

Albia had a 4-4 tie early with baskets by Lauren Kaldenberg, but Knoxville went up 8-4, then sprinted to a 25-4 first quarter lead.

The game was 53-8 at the half.

The Dees actually played better defense in the second half, playimg with a running clock. Knoxville outscored them 9-3 in the third quarter and 7-6 in the fourth.

The result was a 69-17 loss.

“We entered the game under some tough circumstances because of the Monday snowstorm,” said Coach Katy Dykes. “Knoxville had already played a game, beating a really good PCM team. They are really loaded this year, but they’re not 52 points better than we are.”

Coach Dykes said her team talked themselves out of the game before it started. “We’re very young and the Knoxville gym is loud with a great student section. We got so focused on worrying about their three really good kids, we forgot about others on the court and what we could do.”

Turnovers were the killer. Albia had 30 turnovers and took just 23 shots. From those turnovers, Knoxville had a whole bunch of uncontested layups for Katie Keitges (19 points), Maggie Wilkins (18 points), Tara Uitermarkt (10) and Alex Griggs (10).

Lauren Kaldenberg and Maddy Persons led the team with six points apiece.

“We’ve got a lot to work to do both phycially and mentally,” said Coach Dykes.

The Dees/Rockets game scheduled for tonight has been postponed due to inclement weather.

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