On to the next one; MP girls advance
By Andy Krutsinger,
Mt. Pleasant News
The Class 4A girls’ postseason started off with a bang on Wednesday night when SEC rivals Washington and Mt. Pleasant showed down with their seasons on the line.
The game was tight throughout the first three quarters but a huge fourth period allowed the Panthers to pull away for a 50-28 win.
Unlike the first two times the teams played, it was Mt. Pleasant who got the upper hand in the first place.
The Panthers outscored the Demons, 11-5, in the first quarter and led by double-digits in the first half. Washington cut into the lead in the second period but Mt. Pleasant still held a 19-14 lead at the break.
“That was one of our goals,” Panther coach Nicholas Maynard said after the game. “We have to start a lot faster than we did in the past.”
Mt. Pleasant used a balanced scoring attack to get to their 19 first half points. Bailey Johnson had five points at the break and the trio of Kalynn Batey, Maddie Williamson and Sarah Moffett had four apiece.
Kira Ropp had half of Washington’s point total at halftime, scoring six points over the first two quarters.
The Panthers pulled away a little in the third quarter, outscoring the Demons 10-7 in the period. Sarah Nacos scored her first five points in the third quarter to keep Washington close.
The fourth quarter belonged to Mt. Pleasant, especially Sarah Moffett, who began to dominate inside the paint.
Moffett scored eight fourth quarter points and Mt. Pleasant’s defense held Washington to seven.
“The coaches were actually talking before that we needed someone to step up,” said Maynard about Moffett’s game. “Tremendous for that senior (to step up).”
The Panthers outscored the Demons, 21-7, in the final period and walked away with a 22-point win.
“That fourth quarter, they caught fire a little bit and we kind of ran into a wall mentally and physically,” said Washington coach Jordan Bentley after the game. “Not enough communication at times on defense that allowed some three-point shots and our offense went a little stagnant.”
Moffett finished the game with 14 points to lead the Panthers. She also got into double-digits on the boards to earn herself a postseason double-double.
Williamson scored 12 points in the game, with eight coming in the second half. Johnson finished with eight.
Brianna Shelman had five points and a couple of blocked shots. Batey and Taylor Murray scored four apiece. Abbie Liechty had two points and Isabelle Ashton had one.
The Panthers move on to the regional semifinals against the top-ranked team in Class 4A. Mt. Pleasant will travel to Marion for a game on Saturday, Feb. 18, at 7 p.m.