Panther girls pick up wins over FM, Burlington
BY ANDY KRUTSINGER
Mt. Pleasant News
BURLINGTON — The Mt. Pleasant girls’ basketball team made it three wins in a row with a couple of victories this weekend.
The Panthers pulled away in the fourth quarter of both games, defeating Ft. Madison 55-42 at home on Friday before getting a 60-47 road win at Burlington on Saturday.
Mt. Pleasant struggled inside against the Bloodhounds’ post defense on Friday night, but the Panthers were able to stick in the game in the first half thanks to five three-pointers.
Kirsten Smith drained three from the outside and Maddie Williamson had two of her own over the first two periods.
“That was huge,” said Head Coach Nicholas Maynard after the game. “(We) made just enough from the outside to keep us going. Maddie and Kirsten both stepped up and (made) some good shots for us.”
The Panthers were outscored, 12-11, in the first quarter, but the Panthers took a 25-23 into halftime. Williamson had 10 to lead the way and Smith had nine.
Williamson continued to pace the Panthers in the second half, scoring 10 more points as the Panthers stretched their lead to 33-30 after three quarters before running away with it in the final period.
Kalynn Batey hit two three-pointers in the second half and the Panther defense stayed strong as Mt. Pleasant came away with a 49-38 win.
Coach Maynard said picking up the tempo in the second half was a key to Friday night’s win. The Panthers struggled with Ft. Madison’s slow pace early and sped up the style of play throughout the contest.
“That was definitely something we talked about at halftime,” Maynard said. “We wanted to change the tempo of the game. That change of tempo definitely helped us out.”
Williamson finished with 20 points and six assists to lead the Panthers. Batey had 15 points, three steals and two blocks.
Smith finished at nine points in the win. Bailey Johnson had five points. Sarah Moffett scored four, and Abbie Liechty had two points and seven rebounds.
The Panther wings continued their hot shooting stretch on Saturday in Burlington. Smith and Williamson knocked down three-points apiece in the first half once again to co-lead the team with nine points at halftime.
Mt. Pleasant led Burlington, 15-10, after the first quarter. Burlington cut the lead to four points, at 28-24, before halftime.
The two teams split the third quarter, 8-8, but the Grayhounds were able to tie the game up at 38-38 early in the fourth quarter.
In the final six minutes of the fourth quarter, Mt. Pleasant went on a 22-9 run to close out the game.
Williamson led the team again, with 15 points and two steals. Batey hit three three-pointers in the second half to finish at 14 points, all coming in the final two periods. Batey also led the team with six assists.
Moffett finished the game with 11 points and seven rebounds. Johnson had 10 points. Smith finished with nine and Brianna Shelman scored one point and had two steals. Liechty didn’t score in the win over Burlington, but she did co-lead the team with seven rebounds.
The Panthers went to 10-7 overall on the year and moved to 3-4 in SEC play. They will be at Iowa City West on Tuesday, Jan. 31, at 7:30 p.m.