It’s been 2 1/2 months since Oskaloosa’s girls basketball team has tasted victory.
That sour taste in the Indians’ mouths became much sweeter as they got in the win column for the first time since the Nov. 26 opener against Centerville with a resounding 52-35 thumping of Newton in Little Hawkeye Conference action Tuesday night.
The win snaps a 17-game losing streak as Oskaloosa (2-17, 1-12) racked up the most points in a game this season.
With freshman front-liner Alexis Westercamp struggling to score points all night long, junior guard Taylor Richardson picked up the slack in a huge way.
Richardson poured in a game-high 20 points with many coming off either steals or rebounds as she ran in front of the Cardinals defense for easy buckets.
“It feels great. I haven’t had this feeling for a long time,” Richardson said. “It’s a good feeling and I’ll enjoy it with my team.
“We were working on out outletting (passes). We were very loud to each other, talk to each other and it helped us getting down the court.”
Richardson had Oskaloosa’s first three baskets of the game with the first coming off a defensive rebound and racing down the court. The second followed one of her eight steals and the final on coming off a traditional shot from the right corner.
Those buckets gave the Indians a 6-4 lead with 1:30 left in the first quarter and they never looked back.
“It feels great as coaches, but we’re so proud of the players,” Oskaloosa coach Steve Kaisand said. “It’s easy to pack it in after 17 losses in a row, getting to the end of the season and start thinking about what’s next. But they’re competitors and a lot of credit to our girls who came out and fought and continue to work hard.”
Normally, it would be Oskaloosa’s opponent who would come out and put together a string of points to put the game away.
This time, the shoe was on the other foot as the Indians scored the final nine points of the first half to take a 19-9 lead into the locker room.
A basket by Alex Hutchinson got Newton (5-15, 5-8) to within 10-9 with 4:23 remaining in the second quarter.
That’s when Oskaloosa closed out the half on the 9-0 run with Asia Laudermilch nailing a field goal with a second left for the 10-point cushion.
The Indians immediately added to the lead as Westercamp recorded her only basket of the contest early in the third quarter for the 21-9 advantage and they were on their way to breaking the losing skid.
Oskaloosa put the game away from the free-throw line, especially in the fourth quarter, as it converted 14 of 26 of its chances at the charity stripe.
For the game, the Indians were 18-for-36 while Newton went 13 of 26 from the foul line as 51 fouls were called.
While Westercamp struggled scoring, she grabbed 10 of her team’s 37 rebounds as Chace Moyer collected six rebounds and Brittany McQueen had five boards before fouling out.
“Rebounding was huge,” Kaisand said. “They (Cardinals) didn’t have second chances and I don’t think they had many second chances in the second half. We did a better job not only rebounding offensively, but turing those second chances into points. That was huge for us.”
Oskaloosa closes out the home season Friday against Norwalk.