BY CHAD DARE
A four-game conference win streak and a little bit of revenge was on the line Thursday night for the Danville girls basketball team.
Unfortunately for the Lady Vikings, the Normal West Wildcats backed up their previous victory with a 44-27 win over Danville in a Big 12 Conference contest.
“We had played some really good games, so this hurts,’’ said Danville senior Alexus Jimson-Miller, who led the Vikings with 10 points.
The biggest problem for Jimson-Miller and the rest of her teammates was shooting and scoring.
The Vikings, who fall to 15-7 overall and 9-3 in the league, made just 1-of-13 shots in the first quarter and they shot 16.3 percent (8-of-49) in the contest.
“Things weren’t falling for us,’’ Jimson-Miller said. “Their length gave us problems. We wanted to drive to the basket, but making those shots were difficult.’’
And it wasn’t just driving layups that Danville struggled with on Thursday night, the Vikings were also just 3-of-22 behind the 3-point arc.
“Against good teams, you have to make layups and you have to execute better than we did,’’ Danville coach Brian Anderson said. “They are a good team. They reached sectionals last year and they have everyone back.
“We have to hit shots and we have to play special against good teams like that.’’
Anderson acknowledged that his team might have shot a few more 3-pointers than he would have liked, but he admitted that was a result of falling behind early.
Normal West, which improved to 14-5 and 11-1 in the Big 12, scored the game’s first six points and the Wildcats had a multi-possession lead for the rest of the game.
“They came out a lot more energy than we did and they made more shots,’’ Jimson-Miller said. “They executed well from the beginning and it carried over the whole game.’’
While the shooting woes were a concern for Anderson, he was more disappointed in the poor start.
“We didn’t come out to play and that’s the frustrating part,’’ he said. “I could care less if we win or lose, but I thought we got out-competed and out-toughed.
“They took it to us and we didn’t respond really well.’’
Normal West scored five of its first nine points on offensive rebounds as the Wildcats outrebounded the Vikings 13-3 in the first five minutes of the contest.
After that point, Danville matched the bigger Normal West squad board for board as the Wildcats finished with a 43-34 advantage in rebounds.
“In the second half, we scrapped,’’ Anderson said. “We talked about laying our hearts out there and playing tough.’’
While Jimson-Miller had a game-high 10 points, no other Danville player scored more than five.
Jade Carter had a team-high 10 rebounds, while Jimson-Miller had five steals and Michaela Jones finished with five points and four steals.
Normal West used 11 players — 10 of which scored and the Wildcats had a trio of girls with eight points, including their inside duo of Tia Robertson and Jamie Loving.
Those two combined for 16 points and 19 rebounds, while Keely Theobald came off the bench with eight points.
In the sophomore contest, Normal West held off Danville 40-38 as the Vikings had three shots to tie the game in the final seconds.
Desiree Issac led Danville with 12 points, while Alexis Hoskins chipped in with nine.
Danville is back in action on Saturday with a non-conference contest against St. Joseph-Ogden. The preliminary game starts at 1 p.m. with the varsity tentatively set for a 2:30 p.m. tipoff.