MP girls challenge No. 1 Pella, fall by 20
BY ANDY KRUTSINGER
Mt. Pleasant News
The first game of the season for the top-ranked Lady Dutch wasn’t quite as easy as Pella fans would have hoped.
The Mt. Pleasant girls stayed tight with Pella all game, trailing by as little as 10 points midway through the third quarter.
The Panthers started the game on a 5-0 run thanks to a layup by Sarah Moffett to open the scoring and a three-pointer by Kalynn Batey.
After the game, Panther coach Nicholas Maynard said the Panthers focused on getting out to a good start after beginning slow against Durant on Saturday.
“We talked about that as part of our game plan,” he said. “(It’s) something that we really stress, just because we fell down to Durant so easily. We knew if that happened, it would be almost impossible to get back with Pella.”
The Lady Dutch ended the quarter on a 14-2 run, however, with a layup by Batey being the only Mt. Pleasant score outside of the opening rush. After one period, it was 14-7 in favor of Pella.
Mt. Pleasant kept it relatively close in the second quarter. Sarah Moffett and Maddie Williamson each scored five points in the period, but the Lady Dutch led, 29-17.
After hitting one three-pointer in the second quarter, Williamson exploded in the third. She scored the first nine points of the quarter for Mt. Pleasant, all on three-pointers, and ended the quarter with 11 points. Bailey Johnson had her first points of the game on a layup early in the period.
The Panthers cut the lead to 10 points, at 42-32, when Batey found Rylee Amos on a full-court pass and Amos finished at the rim for her first two points of the game. Batey had a three of her own during the period, but Pella still led, 48-35.
Pella was able to pull away in the fourth quarter as Mt. Pleasant could only muster six points in the period. Williamson and Johnson each had two points and Amos and Abbie Liechty each scored one point from the free throw line.
After a hard-fought game, the Lady Dutch escaped with a 61-41 win, dropping the Panthers to 1-1 on the season.
Pella ran their full court press for the vast majority of the game, but other than a few blips, the Panthers were able to break the press and set up their offense. Coach Maynard says he was impressed by the press break at times, but that there is room for improvement.
“As far as the press goes, I thought there were times when we broke it fairly easily, stuck to the game plan and excecuted,” he said. “There were also times when we made a lot of mistakes. The good news for us is that those are very correctable.”
Maynard also called the game a “great opportunity” for the Panthers to play a highly ranked team before a tough stretch against Fairfield and Keokuk in early December.
Williamson finished the game with 18 points, all coming in the final three quarters to lead the team. Batey had eight points. Moffett had seven before fouling out in the fourth quarter.
Johnson scored four points in the loss. Amos had three, and Liechty finished with one.
The Panthers have a long rest before their first SEC games. They’ll host No. 15 Fairfield on Friday, Dec. 2, at 6:15 p.m., and No. 4 Keokuk on Friday, Dec. 9, at 7:30 p.m.