In the final contest of January, both the Dallas Center-Grimes girls and boys basketball teams welcomed in Grinnell for a conference double-header.

A first-quarter deficit ended up being the biggest factor in an eleven point loss for the Fillies while a defensive lockdown through the first half helped the Mustangs pull off a 53-35 victory.

For the Fillies, there was little room for error against the 11th-ranked Tigers who came into the night as the states’ top three-point shooting team with 174 made shots from beyond the arc. It was going to have to be a strong start for the Fillies but unfortunately, a cold quarter forced them to just nine points in the opening period. That marked just the third time the Fillies did not capture ten or more first-quarter points. The other two games ended up in defeat for the Fillies.

From the 17-9 first-quarter deficit, the Fillies slightly crawled their way back but 21 points to round out the half for Grinnell kept the Fillies with their second-largest halftime deficit of the season. The Fillies couldn’t be held down for too long and in the third quarter, they came out swinging and rose above their third-quarter scoring average to the tune of 23 points. DC-G put up a strong fourth quarter as well but they just couldn’t find a way to overcome their first-half deficit.

DC-G dropped just their sixth game of the season overall with the loss. Their record now drops to 10-6 overall while their conference record drops to 6-3.

The name of the game across the boys’ game was defense, defense, and more defense. The game was already slated to be a defensive battle with two of the top three defensive teams in the Little Hawkeye Conference. DC-G flexed their defensive muscles early and continued to show why they are the conferences’ best defense. The Mustangs already came into the game having given up an average of just 50 points per game but Friday, they took that to a whole new level. It began with perhaps the best defensive first half of the season for the Mustangs who held Grinnell to a mere 13 points across the first two quarters. That marked the first time all season DC-G has held an opponent under 15 points across the first half.

Meanwhile offensively, the Mustangs dropped 31 first-half points and 31-12 lead. Even with being outscored 14-8 across the third quarter, a flipped script in the fourth quarter (14-9 DC-G run). It wasn’t DC-G’s overall strongest shooting night with a mark of 39 percent from the floor and just one made three-point basket. Even with that said, it was a rather balanced scoring attack with three players with double-digit scoring efforts. Leading the way was the junior pair of Luke Rankin and Alex Thomas. Both had strong scoring nights complete with 12 points. Thomas’ night included six-of-eight shooting. Rankin’s night included five made field goals and a perfect 2-of-2 from the free-throw line.

Helping the strong defensive efforts was the rebounding game for the Mustangs. DC-G hauled in 29 total rebounds for the contest. Thomas led the way as he matched his point total with 12 total rebounds. His efforts impacted both sides of the ball as his eight offensive rebounds gave the Mustangs multiple second-chance scoring opportunities.

The win for DC-G gives them their 11th overall victory and fifth conference win of the season putting them fifth in the conference standings.

Up next for both girls and boys squads will be a non-conference match-up on the road Monday, Feb. 3 at Pella Christian High School It’s a remake of a rescheduled contest from Jan. 10. Girls will tip-0ff the night beginning at 6:15 p.m. followed by the boys contest at 7:45 p.m.