MANNING — In the end, the pressure was just too much.
Woodward-Granger (3-16) gave host IKM-Manning (16-5) a scare in the first half of their post season opener Saturday, but the host Wolves wore down the Hawks in the second half to pull away for a 59-30 victory.
The hosts went with a full-court press throughout the game, which W-G handled well enough to stay close in the opening two frames. IKM-Manning led, 11-9, after one frame, but a determined W-G defense forced several turnovers and kept the Hawks within range, down 25-18, at the break.
“We handled it (the press) fairly well the first half and were able to finish enough shots to keep it close,” W-G head coach Gary Dresback said. “We could have finished more and been even with them, but that is where we have to get better, get stronger as a team. We need to become better ball handlers and more polished at handling the ball and finishing plays.”
Dresback said he was pleased with the effort of his team, of which only Emily Kuehl is a senior.
“We played hard and gave the kind of effort you need to try to stay with a good team like IKM,” he said. “Their depth and style of play won out in the end, wearing on us as the game went on. We got tired as the second half wore on and that was the difference.”
A 21-7 scoring edge in the third quarter helped the Wolves open a 46-25 lead, far too great for the Hawks to overcome.
Kia Rasmussen had 20 points for IKM, with Shauna Reitan scoring 11 points, Madi Lingle nine and Kira Barry seven to lead the way. Reitan had seven rebounds and Rasmussen six assists, with Rasmussen and Peyton Gross each making four steals.
W-G had wilted Friday on their home floor against Panorama, enduring a 64-15 loss. Any worries of an after-effect were quickly banished Saturday, as Dresback was pleased to note.
“I am proud of our effort in bouncing back from a bad night the night before,” he said. “We could have easily folded and said ‘We are ready for the season to end’ but we did not. We fought hard and gave our all. I like that response — that is something to build on.”
Mary Hansen had nine points for the Hawks, with Riley Jamison adding seven and Kendra Husmann and Alyssa Bice four apiece. Kuehl and Maggi Mallon scored two points each, with Miranda Aunspach and Kayley Dresback each sinking a foul shot.