COCOLAMUS - Basic sports principles dictate that it's difficult to score when you don't have the ball.
Saturday, this was the case for the Greenwood girls basketball team.
The Wildcats made the trip to face Tri-Valley League opponent East Juniata, but between their own turnovers and the Tigers' tenacious effort on defense, Greenwood never had much of a chance in the 49-28 contest.
"We can blame it on a lot of different factors, but the bottom line is that we just didn't show up and play the way we needed to play," Greenwood coach Amy Davidson said.
An inability to break East Juniata's press was the first place Greenwood's play fell short of the win. East Juniata's guards - particularly Kasi Horning and Caitlin Hoover - notched steal after steal from their full-court press, and it quickly resulted in a 12-7 lead for the Tigers by the end of the first quarter.
In the second quarter, the Tigers proceeded to go on a 7-0 run in the first couple minutes, and five of those points were a product of the press. By the end of the game, Horning had 14 steals and Hoover had six as they consistently put the pressure on the Wildcats.
However, if East Juniata's pressure was one factor in the game, Greenwood's trouble responding to it was another.
"I think we had seven or eight turnovers the last game, but we had more than that in the first quarter of this game," said Davidson, who gave the Tigers credit for the work on the press, but also pointed to her own team's difficulties hanging onto the ball as a an important factor in the game.
Offensively, East Juniata ran smoothly as Maddie Trego played tough in the post, scoring a game-high 20 points, and Megan Graybill connected on a couple 3-pointers as part of her 11-point effort. Often, their baskets were the result quick, efficient passes from the guards.
On the Wildcats' end, the buckets were harder to come by as East Juniata's steals and rebounding limited Greenwood's number of looks. The Wildcats also missed several open shots, and they scored no more than nine points in a single quarter.
"We've turned the intensity up on defense. It's something we pride ourselves on here. Our three losses this year, stuff got away from us, so we're back to doing the things that have worked for us in the past," East Juniata coach Travis Quici said.
Morgan Kauffman was the Wildcat who best stood up to East Juniata, scoring in every quarter but the first for a team-high six points, but the Wildcats couldn't muster enough offense to threaten East Juniata.
In the third quarter, East Juniata outscored Greenwood 12-3. In the fourth, Greenwood outpaced the Tigers, 9-4.
From Davis' perspective, the loss was disappointing, but she predicts a quick recovery for her girls.
"I did put some ownership on the girls and tell them that they need to look at themselves a little bit, hold themselves accountable, their teammates accountable and we will bounce back from this. And we're going to do it together, not individually," she said.
Quici was glad about the way his girls responded to the coaching staff's instruction.
"Kudos to the girls tonight - it's all them," he said. "They did exactly what we asked them to do tonight."
In JV action, East Juniata came away with the 27-21 win. Erin Heimbach led the Tigers with a game-high 18 points, while Emily Black led the Wildcats with eight.
Greenwood (8-8, 7-4) travels to Newport Tuesday. The Tigers (7-3, 5-3) make the trip to Upper Dauphin the same day.