Panthers storm back to beat Durant
BY ANDY KRUTSINGER
Mt. Pleasant News
The first few minutes didn’t look pretty, but the Mt. Pleasant girls’ basketball team scored a comeback win in their season opener on Saturday afternoon.
The Panthers stormed back from an early 16-3 deficit in the game to eventually pull out the 41-27 victory over Durant.
Mt. Pleasant had a tough time getting shots to fall in the first few minutes of the game. Defensively, the Panthers struggled to keep Durant off the boards as the Wildcats used a handful of put-back points to spring out to an early 13-point lead.
Maddie Williamson had the first three points for the Panthers, tying the game at 3-3 early. After 13-straight points from Durant, Sarah Moffett ended the Wildcat run with a couple of free throws. Williamson had a steal and a coast-to-coast layup before the first quarter buzzer and the Panthers trailed, 16-7 after one period.
Mt. Pleasant caught fire in the second quarter, outscoring Durant, 15-3. A three from Kalynn Batey, four more points from Moffett and another strip and score from Williamson helped the Panthers cut the lead to 19-17.
Rylee Amos drove into the lane and hit a floater plus the foul to tie the game at 19-19. She converted to give Mt. Pleasant their first lead, and a strip and score from Bailey Johnson ended the first half scoring at 22-19.
“Definitely early timeouts were needed, and there was a lot of panic in the first quarter,” said Mt. Pleasant head coach Nicholas Maynard after the game. “We played a lot better basketball, the basketball we expected to play, in the second quarter.”
The Panthers stretched the lead to 30-22 after three quarters, thanks in part to a couple of points by Batey off of an offensive rebound and another Williamson three-pointer.
Mt. Pleasant put the game away early in the fourth, thanks to a three by Amos and four-straight points from Moffett, which gave the Panthers a commanding 37-22 advantage. They were able to coast from there to the 14-point win.
Durant never found their offense after the first quarter. The Panthers outscored the Wildcats, 34-11, over the last three periods.
“Just about everything changed for us,” Maynard said about the second quarter and beyond. “The biggest thing was the rebounding. We were really getting hurt on the rebounding end of things.”
Moffett finished the game 5-8 from inside and 2-2 from the free throw line for 12 points to lead the team. She also added four rebounds and two assists.
Williamson had 10 points and six steals in the win. Batey had seven points and led the team with five rebounds and three assists.
Amos finished the game with seven points of her own. Johnson had three points and four rebounds, and Brianna Shelman ended the game with two points and two assists. Abbie Liechty didn’t score in the game, but did pull in four rebounds.
The Panthers will have a tough test in their next game. They’ll host top-ranked Pella on Tuesday, Nov. 22, at 7:15 p.m.