Halle Buck getting ready to shoot on Jan. 16. Maryville coach Quentin Albrecht is looking for his girls to understand that every possession counts.

Despite whittling Smithville’s lead to 1 point, Maryville girls basketball dropped the Cameron Tournament Championship game 54-51 Feb. 1.

After cruising past Cameron (11-5) 52-39 Jan. 30, the Spoofhounds (14-3) were scheduled to square off against coach Trevor Mosby and Smithville (13-6). With a team coached by Mosby, Maryville coach Quentin Albrecht knew the championship wouldn’t come without a fight.

“Smithville is a very well-coached team,” Albrecht said. “We knew we would have our hands full at the start.”

The Warriors had the advantage after one quarter leading 15-13. In the second quarter, Smithville shut Maryville’s offense down, allowing 2 points to take a 25-15 lead at the half.

“In the first half, we struggled mentally because they came at us hard and often,” Albrecht said. “As we didn’t show that mental fortitude that we needed, it affected us physically.”

Coming out of the half, Albrecht told his team to be stronger mentally and physically. The ’Hounds started fighting back in the second half to make it close in the closing act. With a late 3-pointer from freshman guard Anastyn Pettlon, it looked like Maryville could win.

On account of a hole the Spoofhounds dug themselves into during the first half, Maryville was unable to climb out in time as Smithville controlled the clock and put the game to rest.

“We finished strong,” Albrecht said. “But we started a little weak and dug ourselves too big of a hole to get out of.”

The weight of a loss may bear a burden on a team as young as Maryville’s, but Albrecht said a loss can have some value if it is turned into a learning experience. He is looking for his girls to understand that every possession counts.

“I hope the girls are disappointed, because the game was a very winnable game,” Albrecht said. “I’m not so sure that Smithville beat us, but maybe we kind of lost it to them.”

Maryville looks to move on from its third loss of the season and get back to business. The Spoofhounds’ focus is now tailored towards earning a No. 1 seed in the Class 3 District 16 tournament that is set to begin in late February.

As the ’Hounds leave the ’Hound Pound for their next four contests, Albrecht hopes that the team hasn’t hit the peak of its season.

“I hope that we’re not playing our best basketball right now,” Albrecht said. “I hope that as we go through the next couple weeks, that we improve in some little aspects of the game.”

One thing that could influence how well the Spoofhounds play is the ability to stay mentally and physically firm. The ’Hounds have shown, on multiple occasions, that they can come from behind to construct a late thriller, but slow starts have been a weak spot in an otherwise strong team.

“Every time you step out on the floor, you have to be physically and mentally prepared in order to play quality competition,” Albrecht said. “As we get into our district, it is going to be very important for us to get off to a good start.”

Regardless of the result of each game, it’s rather crucial the ’Hounds continue playing to the best of their ability and learning from missteps on the court. Doing so, Albrecht said, will facilitate a desirable result at the conclusion of this season.

“Failure is just simply the opportunity to begin again,” Albrecht said.

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