Panthers sweep up Chargers at home
BY ANDY KRUTSINGER
Mt. Pleasant News
The Mt. Pleasant basketball teams got sweet revenge on Tuesday night, avenging a couple of close losses from last season.
The Panthers faced Chariton in a non-conference doubleheader and picked up two non-conference wins, 57-46 in the girls’ game and 77-48 in the boys’ game.
The girls’ game was back and forth for three quarters. Mt. Pleasant were able to score points inside all game but the Chargers kept with the Panthers due to a flurry of fastbreak points.
Mt. Pleasant trailed 11-9 after the first quarter and 26-25 at halftime. Maddie Williamson led the Panthers in the first half with nine points, including two three-pointers.
“We were not particularly happy with how we played in the first half,” said Panther girls’ coach Nicholas Maynard. “So I think a (key) was just making those changes at halftime.”
Kalynn Batey, who had just two points in the first half, came alive in the third quarter. She scored seven points to pace the Panthers, who took back the lead and held a 39-34 advantage after three periods.
Chariton was unable to get the lead back in the fourth quarter. Williamson closed it out with five fourth-quarter points and Bailey Johnson hit four free throws to help the Panthers run away with the 11-point win.
“I thought they handled the pressure better,” Maynard said after the game. “We threw the ball around a little too much but we were able to settle in and get our offense going.”
Williamson finished the game with 16 points and four steals to lead the team. Sarah Moffett had a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Batey had 12 points and nine rebounds and Johnson finished with 12 points and four assists, going 10-16 from the free throw line.
Kirsten Smith and Taylor Murray each had two points in the win. Abbie Liechty scored one point and pulled down six rebounds.
The boys held a slim lead against the Chargers for the majority of the first half, but the Panthers were able to stretch it to double-digits in the second quarter.
Fourth-ranked Mt. Pleasant led 14-11 after the first quarter and 23-21 at halftime.
The Panthers continued to pull away in the third quarter, scoring 19 points for the second straight period to blow the game open and take a 52-33 advantage into halftime.
“We wanted to play a great first few minutes of that third quarter,” Panther boys’ coach Paul Rundquist said. “That really turned the game around.”
Mt. Pleasant stayed hot in the fourth quarter, scoring 25 points, which was their highest total of any quarter.
“We were just trying to play with a lot of energy (and) keep that tempo going,” said Rundquist. “(We) hoped we were going to be able to wear them out, and we did that.”
Tom O’Connor had one of his best games, scoring 21 points and bringing down 10 rebounds in the win.
“He is looking for his shot, but I’m also crediting the guys for getting the basketball,” Rundquist said about the big man’s success. “He can’t score if he doesn’t get the ball in good position. Credit him for getting good position.”
Brady Sartorius had another big game as well. He co-led the team with 21 points and dished out seven assists.
In the first half of the ballgame, Sartorius reached a major milestone for high school basketball. The junior guard, who came into the game with 993 career points, reached the 1,000 point mark. A rare accomplishment that few players reach in their third year.
Sartorius is the first Panther to get to 1,000 points since Scott Hahn and Henry Krieger-Coble two graduates of the 2011 class.
Colin Mulford scored eight points in the win. Jonathan Ita and Kieran Kohorst had seven apiece. Jordan Magnani finished with six. Rhett Zeglen had four, and Brody McGhghy rounded out the Panther scorers with three.
Mt. Pleasant moved to 8-7 in girls’ basketball and 13-2 in boys’ basketball. The Panthers will play Ft. Madison on Friday, Jan. 27, at 7:45 p.m. The boys will be on the road and the girls will be at home.