Panther girls come back to top Demons
BY ANDY KRUTSINGER
Mt. Pleasant News
Halfway through Friday night’s game it looked like the Washington girls were in position to win their third straight over Mt. Pleasant, but a dominant second half pushed the Panthers to their fourth win in a row by the score of 48-35.
The first quarter was about as low-scoring as you can imagine with shot after shot hitting the rim and bouncing out.
Kalynn Batey hit a shot early to give Mt. Pleasant a 2-0 lead. Sarah Nacos tied it up with a two-point shot of her own and it was 2-2 until just a couple minutes left in the quarter. Sarah Moffett scored two points late in the period and it was 4-2 after the first eight minutes.
“I don’t know if you credit good defense or you credit that nobody could make a shot,” Washington coach Jordan Bentley said about the first quarter. “It wasn’t like we were turning the ball over. Neither team was turning it over. It was just that nothing was going in.”
The Demons were able to pull past the Panthers in the second quarter, thanks in part to a five-point period by Nacos. At the break it was Washington with a slim 19-14 lead.
The Mt. Pleasant offense was stagnant throughout the first two periods. Batey led the team with six points at half, but she was the only Panther with over five in the first two quarters.
“Halftime wasn’t really enjoyable for any of the coaches or the girls,” Mt. Pleasant coach Nicholas Maynard said. “We just talked about going back to the game plan.”
Mt. Pleasant finally woke up in the third quarter, however. The Panthers started to hit their shots from outside and outscored the Demons, 17-3, to take a 28-22 lead after three periods.
The Panthers continued to pull away in the fourth quarter with their highest offensive output of the night. Mt. Pleasant outscored Washington 20-13 in the final period to walk out with a 13-point win.
Maddie Williamson scored 10 points to lead the Panthers in the second half. Brooke Stout scored seven second-half points for the Demons, all of which came in the fourth quarter.
“Second half, (the shots) really started falling for us,” Maynard said after the game. “Rylee Amos stepped up and hit a three for us. Kirsten smith comes back with a three (and) Maddie Williamson kind of came back to life for us.”
Batey finished the game with 14 points to lead all scorers. She also dished out a team-high three assists. Williamson finished with 10 points, including two of the team’s four three-pointers.
Sarah Moffett flirted with a double-double, scoring eight points and pulling down nine rebounds. Bailey Johnson had four points and three steals. Abbie Liechty had four points and three blocks.
Smith and Amos each made one shot from down town for the Panthers to finish at three points. Brianna Shelman rounded out the Mt. Pleasant scoring effort, with two.
Nacos led the Demons with 13 points in the game, including three makes from three-point land. She also co-led the team with three steals.
Stout finished the game with seven points and seven rebounds. Taylor Dicks had five points. Morgan Brinning had four points and three steals.
Willie Brooks scored all three of her points on a three-pointer in the second period. Kira Ropp scored two points in the loss and Isabel Bailey finished with one point and four assists.
After the game, Bentley said the team needed to rebound mentally before their game against Oskaloosa next weekend.
“It’s all about mental toughness right now,” Bentley said. “It’s all about realizing we didn’t have it the way we needed to tonight and to come back and be ready next Saturday.”
The Demons fell to 2-7 overall and 1-2 in SEC play. They will travel to Oskaloosa on Saturday, Jan. 14, at 6 p.m.
Mt. Pleasant moved to 5-4 on the year and will be at Mediapolis tonight (Monday) at 7 p.m.