MP defense shuts down City High in the fourth
BY ANDY KRUTSINGER
Mt. Pleasant News
The Panther boys led by just one point going into the fourth quarter of Tuesday night’s game against Iowa City High, but a suffocating defensive effort led Mt. Pleasant to a 53-38 victory.
The Panthers got out to a strong start in the first half behind 12 points from Brady Sartorius and at least two points from six different Panthers.
Mt. Pleasant had a double-digit lead in the second quarter but the Little Hawks were able to battle back late to cut it to 28-26 at halftime.
Mt. Pleasant came out of the locker rooms on fire, especially defensively, and grinded out a 7-0 run to push the lead to 35-26.
The Little Hawks came back once again, however, and cut the lead to one point, at 37-36, going into the fourth quarter.
The Mt. Pleasant defense tightened in a big way in the final period. Iowa City High was unable to work anything inside and three-point shots that fell in the first three quarters were coming up iron.
Jordan Magnani scored five points in the fourth quarter and Kieran Kohorst added four of his own as the Panthers stretched their lead to double-digits.
Iowa City High didn’t score in the fourth quarter until a couple of free throws with 13.6 seconds left, and by that time it was all over.
After the game, Mt. Pleasant coach Paul Rundquist said the defense buckling down and locating shooters were keys to the win and that he was happy to finally beat the Little Hawks.
“Quite honestly, I’m just happy to come out of here with a win,” Rundquist said. “We haven’t beaten City High since I’ve been here, so this is a nice time to get that victory.”
Sartorius added five points in the second half to finish at a team-leading 17 points, four assists and five steals. Magnani had nine points in the final two quarters to end the game at 14 points over all.
Tom O’Connor scored nine points in the win and led the team with eight rebounds. Kohorst ended with six points. Colin Mulford had four points and Jonathan Ita scored three.
This was Mt. Pleasant’s first game against a 4A team. The Panthers have three more games against 4A foes this season.
“It’s huge,” Rundquist said about the Panthers’ 4A schedule. “We’ve got to play these schools to make ourselves better. Hopefully in the end it’s going to pay off.”
The junior varsity team also took on Iowa City High on Tuesday night.
The JV Panthers took down the Little Hawks, 61-51. Rhett Zeglen scored 18 points in that game and Keegan Kohorst had 16.
The varsity Panthers have won their last six games and now sit at 6-1 overall. They will attempt to improve on their 2-0 SEC record on Friday, Jan. 6, in Washington. That varsity game is scheduled to start at 7:45 p.m.