Got your six: JWCC women’s basketball team wins MWAC opener despite depleted bench

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John Wood Community College guard Madison McFerrin makes a layup during the second half of Wednesday's Mid-West Athletic Conference victory over Spoon River College at the Student Activity Center. | Matt Schuckman photo

QUINCY — Lauren Bogle doesn’t dwell on the fact the John Wood Community College women’s basketball team has only six players healthy and eligible at this juncture.

“You just need five on the floor, right?” the first-year Trail Blazers coach said.

If the Trail Blazers can maintain the right level of defensive aggressiveness without getting into foul trouble and execute offensively, six players are good enough to win games inside the Mid-West Athletic Conference.

That was the overriding message coming from Wednesday night’s 64-41 victory over Spoon River College in JWCC’s MWAC opener at the Student Activity Center.

“We know we have to play for each other,” sophomore guard Madison McFerrin said. “We have to hold each other accountable.”

No one is allowing fatigue to be an excuse either.

“You just have to fight through it,” McFerrin said. “You don’t have time to hang your heads. Face it, we don’t have anyone coming in for us.”

The Trail Blazers (7-9, 1-0 MWAC) opened the season with just 10 players on the roster, but injuries and off-the-court issues have resulted in starting the second semester with only six players in uniform. All six played 28 or more minutes each against Spoon River.

Mykaela Elliott and Brandy Walker each played 38 minutes, combining for 18 points, 17 rebounds and seven assists. McFerrin led three players in double figures with 22 points while spearheading an offense that had 18 assists against just 10 turnovers.

Due to the numbers crunch, she has transitioned from her natural shooting guard spot to playing point guard most of the time.

“It’s challenging because no one is in their true position,” Bogle said. “They’re having to do more than what they normally would have to, playing uncomfortable and not being able to be as aggressive as we want. It’s all a challenge, but they are playing just as hard as we could.”

JWCC outscored Spoon River 21-9 in the third quarter and limited the Snappers to 18 points in the second half.

“I think we stayed together,” Bogle said. “Even when I got on them, I was making sure they stayed together and ignored the negativity. That’s what got us through the second half. They finally came together. That was my favorite part, how they really clicked.”

And they continue proving six is enough.

“I have enough that they are battling and making it count,” Bogle said. “So I’m proud of them.”

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