MP girls drop tight game against Ottumwa
BY ANDY KRUTSINGER
Mt. Pleasant News
The Mt. Pleasant girls faced a tough 4A opponent in Ottumwa on Monday night. The Panthers hung tight with the Bulldogs but fell just short with a 38-35 loss.
Mt. Pleasant’s defense was able to hold Ottumwa quiet in the first quarter and a half to take a three-possession lead, but the Bulldogs scrapped back to pull within two before halftime and the Panthers led, 21-19, at the break.
Offensively, Maddie Williamson led the Panthers in the first half with nine points at the break. Six of those points came in the first quarter.
The Bulldogs took the lead early in the third quarter, but Mt. Pleasant hung in thanks in part to four more points by Williamson and a couple of makes from the outside.
Kalynn Batey and Kirsten Smith each hit a three-pointer in the third quarter, which helped Mt. Pleasant’s offense get back into a bit of a groove before the end of the period. Still, the Bulldogs held a 32-31 lead going into the final eight minutes.
The two teams gritted out a very defensive fourth quarter, which saw only 10 points scored between the two teams.
Bailey Johnson scored the first two Mt. Pleasant points of the quarter but the Panthers struggled to put the ball through the hoop throughout the rest of the period, scoring only one more.
Ottumwa led 34-33 with just over a minute to go. Williamson hit a go-ahead shot to put the Panthers back up, 35-34, but the Bulldogs responded with a shot of their own to re-take the lead at 36-35.
Mt. Pleasant had the chance to take the lead back but a Johnson jump shot fell short. The Bulldogs then hit a couple of free throws to make it 38-35 with less than 30 seconds remaining.
In the final 20 seconds, Batey had a shot to cut it to one with a layup attempt but the Ottumwa defense stood strong to get the ball back with under 10 ticks remaining.
The Bulldogs missed the front end of a one-and-one, which gave the Panthers one last chance. Maddie Williamson got a decent look from the corner but her three-pointer went just short and Ottumwa survived.
After the game, Panther coach Nicholas Maynard credited Ottumwa’s length inside, saying Mt. Pleasant was hurt by the Bulldogs’ inside play.
“They had a lot of offensive rebounds, so it was tough for us to hang in there,” Maynard said. “They had some second and third looks every now and then.”
Williamson finished with 15 points on the night to lead the Panthers.
Batey scored eight points. Smith had six points on two three-pointers. Moffett scored four and Johnson had two.
The Panthers fell to 11-9 after the loss. They’ll face Washington on the road for their last regular season on Friday, Feb. 10, at 7:45 p.m., and then host that same Washington team in the first round of regionals on Wednesday, Feb. 15.
Maynard says the Panthers won’t be holding anything back against the rival Demons when they meet in the regular season.
“We’re going to play our game,” Maynard says. “We’re going to go take care of business on Friday night. We’re going to invite them back down here on Wednesday and we’re going to take care of business again.”