MhsGbb #15

Maryville girls basketball sophomore forward Rylee Vierthaler drives down the court for a layup in their game against St. Joseph LeBlond Feb. 3. The Spoofhounds play two more games before the District 16 Tournament Feb. 27.

Winter weather is in full effect as the second game in as many weeks for Maryville girls basketball was postponed due to inclement weather conditions. The Spoofhounds’ Feb. 15 matchup against Cameron was postponed to Feb. 17.

Maryville coach Quentin Albrecht hated hearing another contest would be moved to a later date, but was optimistic considering the circumstances presented this season.

“With the extreme conditions, we’re doing the best we can with what we have,” Albrecht said. “We feel pretty fortunate. We’ve played 18 games and only missed one game that hasn’t been made up to this point. With COVID, we’re actually pretty lucky to have the season we’ve had.”

Maryville, like many teams, has witnessed an unorthodox schedule with games shifting around, similar to a sliding tile puzzle. The ’Hounds were initially supposed to conclude their regular season Feb. 18 against Savannah. Now, the team’s last game could be played within two days of the district tournament, which starts Feb. 27.

However, these postponements offer extra rest for Albrecht’s team to be in the best shape to compete.

“It doesn’t hurt to have an extra day off every once and awhile,” Albrecht said. “Some of my kids play a tremendous amount of minutes. I’ve got some girls with bumps and bruises, so this day will allow them to heal up. Also, a mental break is good. We’re on a 14-game winning streak — there’s a lot of pressure that comes with that. A little mental break isn’t a bad thing.”

With a lengthy winning streak and the best start in program history dangling over his head, Albrecht is feeling the pressure of the expectations to continue that success. The fear of stumbling and losing that streak weighs on his mind when he’s forced to sit at home.

The inability to make it to the ’Hound Pound on icy days also weighs on senior guard Serena Sundell.

“At this point in the year, there’s been a lot of adversity with everything going on,” Sundell said. “We have to make sure we control what we can control. Even if we’re not playing the team we expect to play the next day, we have to make sure we’re getting better.”

Sundell pointed out that basketball players can get better without being in a gym. Watching film, scouting opponents or even watching basketball on TV can raise a player’s overall basketball IQ. She wants her teammates to do whatever they can to get better in more ways than physical growth.

The senior said it’s tough to prepare for an opponent and not get a chance to apply that preparation. Nonetheless, she quickly shrugged off the frustration of canceled games and refocused on the next task in front of her.

“We just have to come into practice, get better and remember our goals,” Sundell said. “Our goals at the end of the season — the district championship and conference championship — if we can keep those at the forefront of our minds, that’s going to help us through some of these canceled games.”

Maryville is in position to take the MEC title if the weather permits the conclusion of its season. The ’Hounds need to win one of their three remaining conference games in order to add another year to their conference champions banner hanging in the ’Hound Pound.

One opponent that each MEC school has faced each day for the entirety of the season is the weather, giving each school an equal chance at the title.

“Even though the weather is impacting us, it’s also impacting other teams around the area,” Albrecht said. “I think this is just a common theme that a lot of schools will have to deal with over the next few days.”

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