Palco girls edge Natoma
By CONOR NICHOLL
By CONOR NICHOLL
PALCO -- Both Natoma and Palco High School girls' basketball teams have experience, but have battled injuries all season. The squads have suffered multiple close losses.
Among the injuries, Natoma senior Tatum Pfortmiller didn't play until after Christmas because of a knee injury. Freshman Terran Homburg wears a face shield because of a broken nose.
Junior forward Kourtney Grafel has been out since league tournament with a calf problem. Sophomore Regan Casey was poked in the eye and has been to the eye doctor three times since last Friday. The doctor has kept the eye dilated, but Casey has still played.
"I've had all 12 girls like for two games," Natoma coach Aaron Homburg said.
Palco has six seniors, but has played the entire year without senior guard Shelby Knipp because of a knee injury. On Tuesday, the Roosters edged Natoma, 40-36.
"There was a lot of positives from it," Palco coach Shay Simoneau said.
Natoma dropped to 7-12, while Palco moved to 8-9.
"There were some losses that we should have won - 10 or less (points) that we kind of let get away," Simoneau said.
Pfortmiller led the Tigers with 14 points. Casey had nine. Simoneau noticed Casey had scored around 20 the last couple of games.
"I think it flustered her," Simoneau said. "Our girls did really good playing defense against her, shutting her down."
Senior Kiley Marcotte added 14 points for Palco, including three 3s. Natoma finished 8 of 19 from the foul line; Palco 11 of 27.
"We missed a lot of shots that we should make," Homburg said. "That's kind of been our Achilles' heel this year. We get good shots. We just aren't knocking them down. Free throws, same way. We missed some free throws. When we make shots, we are tough to beat."
Palco led 23-13 at halftime and 31-27 after three quarters. Natoma closed within one possession several times, including 35-33 with 64 seconds left, but missed some short shots.
"In a tight game, you can't miss easy shots," Homburg said. "I understand they are contested."