Mount Gilead got off to a fast start at Highland Wednesday night and was able to parlay that into a 50-38 win to remain unbeaten at 5-0, 4-0 in league play.
With the score tied at 2-2, MG went on a 10-0 run, with four different girls lighting up the scoreboard. Dakota Shipman opened the team’s run with a basket and Holly Gompf added a three-pointer. Maddie Fitzpatrick picked up a basket and free throw and Candace Millisor made the score 12-2 with a bucket.
“We’ve been doing that lately,” said head coach Bob Scott of his team’s fast start. “We got off to a good start, but couldn’t pull away from Highland.”
The Scots bounced back with a basket from Madison Cecil and a Savannah Fitzpatrick three-pointer, but couldn’t get closer than five points, as MG ended the period with back-to-back scores by Shipman and Gompf to lead 16-7 after eight minutes.
“We allowed them to have offensive rebounds, so when we got closer than 10, they’d get an offensive rebound and put-back,” said Highland coach Whitney Levering Smith. “Also, we had 13 turnovers in the first half. We battled hard and all five girls on the court gave it their all. We just have to do better with those things there.”
A steal and score by Millisor gave the Indians an 18-7 lead early in the second and the rest of the quarter had the team maintain a double-digit lead.
Trailing 21-11 midway through the period, Highland got one free throw from Brylinn Tuggle and two from Cecil, but the team was outscored 7-1 down the stretch to trail 28-15 at the half. Fitzpatrick hit a three-pointer and Gompf contributed a pair of baskets to lead the team into the locker room.
A free throw by Gompf and basket by Fitzpatrick made the score 31-15 early in the third, but Cecil would lead Highland back into the game, as she scored nine points in the quarter to trim the team’s deficit to 13 at 39-26.
“She’s definitely our offensive scorer and leader,” said Levering Smith. “When we need to come out strong, she’s out there to provide an answer for us.”
The Scots opened the fourth with back-to-back scores by Peyton Carpenter and Gena West to close within nine points and, after a Miilisor basket for MG, got a three-pointer by Cecil to get within a 41-33 margin. However, Highland would not be able to get any closer, as the Indians took a 9-5 advantage over the final four minutes, with McKenzie Andrews tallying four of that number. Scott was pleased with the performance of his junior forward.
“McKenzie Andrews played her butt off,” he said. “She had huge baskets and played well.”
Fitzpatrick was the team’s leading scorer with 15 points. Gompf scored 10, Shipman added nine and Millisor tallied eight. For Highland, Cecil tallied 22 points to lead all players.
Levering Smith noted that her team simply has to be more assertive on the boards going forward.
“We’ve got Centerburg next and just have to focus on not allowing second-chance points,” she said. As for the Indians,
Scott was happy that his team had a fairly tight game where they had to grind to pick up the win.
“I told them we’re due for a game we had to really play,” he said. “These kinds of games, you’ve got to win where you battle and have to grind it out a bit. It’s good to see them in a position where they have confidence and think they can win these games.”