It was a short and not particularly successful week for the Illinois Valley Central girls basketball team.
The Ghosts lost, 59-26, at St. Bede Thursday.
"We played well," coach Marc Lowe said. "We tried to do some different things on defense, but they went to their big girl a lot and she had 21 points. They also hit seven threes in the first half. That was kind of a dagger to us.
"We still struggled to score and we only got to the freethrow line two times. We have to get to the freethrow line more times."
St. Bede played hard and fast from the get-go by launching in long two-pointers and treys from the perimeter.
The Bruins had no problem bruising their way past Ghost defenders to score at the hoop either.
IVC's offense did not start bad, but could not match the Bruin intensity.
"Erica Larson tweaked her quad earlier in the year so we pulled her early in the game," Lowe said. "Not having her at full strength has affected us."
The Ghosts trailed 17-8 after the first quarter.
The Ghost offense upped the intensity in the second quarter when Brooke Rudolph created great ball movement to set teammates up with open looks at the hoop.
Candis Rudolph got in on the action by taking passes and waiting for high-percentage shots, which she knocked down.
Candis and Brooke Rudolph led the team with eight points each.
While the IVC offense improved over the final eight minutes before halftime, the defense continued to let St. Bede rack up points.
After two quarters of a Bruin offensive barrage, IVC trailed 35-19.
"I think the key things for us are that we have to rebound better and they have to communicate," Lowe said. "We also need to get to the freethrow line."
In the third and fourth quarter, the Ghost offensive intensity completely dropped off.
For 16 minutes, the Ghosts could not catch a break on the offensive side of the court as shots bounced out, the ball was turned over and poor shots were taken.
St. Bede, however, never really let up and cruised to an easy win.
"We have been doing a lot of shooting and reviewing and just trying to get them to understand what it's going to take to help us win," Lowe said of the team's practices before and after the game. "We have gotten a lot of shooting in and made defensive adjustments."
The Ghosts played Limestone Monday and Peoria Christian Tuesday.
"I think playing so many games on the road will make us battle tested," Lowe said. "After Thursday, we will have time to heal and get rested and that will be nice.
Page 2 of 2 - "We have three games in four days and that is what we will have to do to get through the Regional. That should help get us ready for the regional, those three tough games to end the season."
The team next plays at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Annawan to finish the regular season.
"It's like I always say, it's not how you start the year but how you finish the year," Lowe said. "The girls know that and they are ready."