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Wash Journal   Fairfield Ledger
Neighbors Growing Together | Sep 20, 2018

Pen City pounding: MP fries FM

No. 1 Mt. Pleasant dumps Bloodhounds, makes date with Solon for substate final
Feb 23, 2018
Photo by: Andy Krutsinger Tucker Johnson skies for a rebound against a couple of Bloodhounds in the second half.

By Andy Krutsinger, Mt. Pleasant News

 

The top-ranked Mt. Plesant boys simply crushed Ft. Madison in their substate semifinal on Thursday night. The Panthers jumped on the Bloodhounds early and never let their foot off the gas pedal on their way to a 67-25 victory.

Mt. Pleasant went straight to the full court press against their Southeast Conference rivals. The Panthers were in Ft. Madison’s face all night. Mt. Pleasant led 20-7 through the first eight minutes, and unfortunately for Bloodhound fans, that was the highest point total they’d see in a quarter all night.

The Panthers exploded offensively in the second quarter. The backcourt of Brady Sartorius and Jordan Magnani continued to dominate the Bloodhound guards, creating turnover after turnover and sinking multiple jump shots as well.

The Panthers outscored Ft. Madison 25-6 in the period to take a 45-13 lead into the half. Sartorius and Magnani each had 12 points at the break to lead the way.

Magnani hit a three-pointer to start the third period, and that sent the game into running clock via the 35-point rule. Ft. Madison could never get within 35 again, and the clock ran throughout the second half.

Mt. Pleasant outscored Ft. Madison 15-6 in the third period and 7-6 in the fourth to fly by with a 42-point win.

“I thought we really played solid,” Coach Paul Rundquist said after the win. “I thought our prep going into the game was as good as it has been this season, and it always helps when the shots fall. We got some great looks and the kids knocked them down.”

Magnani simply couldn’t miss all night. He finished the game 10-13 from the field and 6-7 from behind the three-point line to lead the team with 26 points. After the game, Magnani was asked about his confidence leading up to the game.

“I always come into the game thinking I’m going to shoot that well,” the senior guard explained. “Sometimes I don’t, but tonight I was feeling it.”

Sartorius filled the stat sheet with 16 points, seven rebounds, six assists and four steals. Jonathan Ita gave the Panthers a third double-digit scorer with 11.

Colin Mulford and Rhett Zeglen each scored three points in the win. Kieran Kohorst had two points and seven rebounds, and Tucker Johnson, Maison Ashton and Riley McQuiggin scored two each.

The flow of the game couldn’t have been more different than the last time the two met in the substate semifinals. The Bloodhounds led 32-26 at halftime of that game and gave the Panthers a scare before Mt. Pleasant finally grabbed the lead in the third period. Ita, who sank the go-ahead shot in last year’s contest, says that game was in the team’s mind leading up to Thursday night.

“That was definitely in our brains,” Ita said. “We knew we had to come out strong, and if we didn’t, it could end up in the same result.”

The game marked the last time the Panthers’ senior core would play at Mt. Pleasant High School. Magnani, Sartorius, Ita, Mulford, Kohorst and Ashton all played their last minutes on the MPCHS floor, and Coach Rundquist says it was an appropriate way to finish up.

“It’s very special,” Rundquist said. “They’ve probably played the most varsity games, as a team, than any team that has played in this gym. Great for them to go out this way, and hopefully they can get a few more.”

The Panthers will face Solon in the substate game at Muscatine on Monday, February 26, at 7 p.m. The Spartans outlasted Fairfield in a tight battle on their home floor Thursday night. The winner of that game will advance to state. Magnani, one of the team’s six seniors, says the sky is the limit if the Panthers keep bringing the same intensity they had against Ft. Madison.

“(The key is to) come out the same way we did tonight,” Magnani said. “We think we could take it all the way if we come out like we did tonight.”

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