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Girls basketball: Mustangs strike early against Redettes

Jan. 19—CENTERVILLE — It's been a hard couple of weeks.

Winter storms has buried the southern Iowa area in over two feet of snow while gusting winds and sub-zero temperatures has made it tough just to clear out their own driveways.

Fortunately for Reese Humphrey, her father made a smart investment for this time of the year.

"We've got a big truck," Humphrey said with a smile. "He's been able to drive me into town so I could get in the gym and shoot some baskets."

That shooting touch came in handy on Thursday as the Davis County girls basketball team braved one more dash of winter weather with snow flurries and wind greeting the Mustangs as they headed west down Highway 2 to visit Centerville. Once inside Lakeview Gymnasium, Humphrey went right back to shooting and sinking shots from beyond the 3-point line draining four 3-pointers in the opening 10 minutes of a 56-40 South Central Conference road win in Davis County's first contest since winning at Central Decatur 12 days earlier.

"I was a little nervous if we'd get this one in when we were driving over and those flurries began," Davis County head girls basketball coach Jeff Graves said. "You just never know. This weather has been something. Between practices and games, anytime you can get into the gym to do anything, it's a good thing."

Both Davis County and Centerville had not played a game since both competed back on Jan. 6, when the Mustangs won 61-41 over Central Decatur behind a 22-point effort from Humphrey. Centerville, meanwhile, won 51-34 at Moravia behind a 21-point, 21-rebound from Adriana Howard as the Redettes snapped a six-game losing streak.

Being able to build on that winning momentum, however, was stymied as both teams were left to the mercy of the winter storm systems. Multiple games were called off with even getting together for practices made difficult by the travel conditions.

"When I was younger and we missed a day due to the weather, I was a nervous wreck. If we missed two days, I don't know what I would have done," Graves said. "We ended up missing an entire week. We've only been able to practice three times since Jan. 7. We're really a rural team. Only four of our 11 girls live in town, so it's been difficult for these girls just to get together for any practice session."

Despite those difficulties, Davis County looked like a team that hadn't missed a beat early on. Humphrey's first 3-pointer came on the second possession of the game as the Mustangs never looked back after jumping out a 13-2 lead over the Redettes in the first four minutes.

"We were anxious to get out here. We were ready to play," Humphrey said. "We've just been stuck at home. We haven't been able to do anything, so we came out with plenty of energy."

Humphrey wasn't the only Mustang to strike from beyond the arc. Culee Smith, Cassidy Van Laningham and Augusta Warren each sank 3-pointers during the third quarter helping Davis County extend their lead to 35-22 after the Redettes trimmed Davis County's early lead down to 23-17 late in the first half.

"We've played 10 girls all year. I think it's going pay off over the next two weeks with so many games coming up because the girls are going to be gassed," Graves said. "We were in shape before all this started. We've just got to get back in shape. It probably won't be for another week, but I'm proud of the girls. We just tried to make simple passes and simple plays."

Humphrey led the balanced attack on both ends of the floor for Davis County, scoring a game-high 18 points finishing 4-7 shooting from 3-point range. Warren added 11 points for Mustangs, all coming in the second half, while Van Langingham scored 10 points sinking 4-6 shots from the field.

"We didn't try to make any super plays or super passes that might have a chance of getting deflected away," Graves said. "We just kept it simple and applied enough defensive pressure that we got to them in the second half."

Howard battled her way to another double-double to lead Centerville, scoring a team-high 12 points while hauling in a game-high 13 rebounds. Brynlee Carney added 11 points for the Redettes.

Davis County (6-7, 4-4 SCC) and Centerville (2-9, 1-7 SCC) were both scheduled to be back on the court for SCC contests on Friday as the Courier went to press with the Mustangs hosting Cardinal while the Redettes hosted Albia on 'Pink Out' night. The remnants of the winter storms will test both teams as Centerville is scheduled to head to Chariton for a make-up contest on Saturday before playing four games in five days next week while Davis County opens a three-game week on Monday with a make-up trip to sixth-ranked (2A) Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont.

"We'll be a little bit tired, but hopefully we'll have enough legs to play," Graves said. "It's a good thing I'm older. Maybe I can handle it better. I know when I was a younger coach I wouldn't have handled this well at all."

— Scott Jackson can be reached at sjackson@ottumwacourier.com. Follow him on Twitter@CourierScott.