Dominating performances in the first and third quarters led Mount Gilead past visiting Galion by a 49-30 margin in the season-opener for both girls’ basketball teams.
The Indians jumped out to a 15-5 lead after eight minutes. After watching the Tigers close within a 17-15 score, MG finished the first half with five straight points and continued that momentum into the third, when they scored the first 19 points of the period and never looked back.
“We took plays off, took quarters off,” said Galion coach Shani Rush. “We came back in the second quarter, but turnovers hurt us. We ran out of gas.”
Early on, it looked like the game would be all Indians. Kaitlyn Pfiefer opened the game with a three-pointer and Candace Millisor added two to stake MG to a 5-0 lead. With the score 7-3, the Indians got two points each from Holly Gompf and Madilyn Elson and four from Millisor to open up a 15-3 lead before Teanna Greter finished the period with a bucket to make it a 10-point game.
A shot by Isabella Schroeter put the Indians up by a 17-5 count in the early stages of the second quarter, but MG went six minutes without points to let their opponents back into the game. Seven points by Natalee Perkins allowed Galion to close within a 17-15 margin with under two minutes remaining in the half.
“We couldn’t make shots and Candace got in foul trouble and she was the only one making any,” said Mount Gilead coach Bob Scott, as Millisor had eight of his team’s first 17 points before having to leave the game.
Things picked up for the Indians in the final minute of the half, though, as Pfiefer hit another three-pointer and Gompf followed with a basket to send the teams to their locker rooms with MG in front 22-15.
The home team would blow open the game in the third, as they held Galion scoreless until Perkins hit a three-pointer with only 20 seconds left to play in the period. By the time that shot was hit, MG had gone on such a run that their lead was only cut to a 41-18 margin.
Millisor scored seven in that quarter for the Indians, while Elson added five and Emarah Miller tallied four to help the team open up a commanding lead.
“We had some kids who haven’t played a lot of varsity,” said Scott. “For some of them, this was either thier first start or first game. That’s a big deal. We’ll keep working. We’re not there yet; we still have a ways to go.”
While Galion was able to take a 12-8 advantage in the fourth quarter due to a pair of Greter three-pointers, they would not be able to overcome MG’s big lead. Rush noted that her team still needs to develop chemistry, saying that COVID-19 and quarantines have had an effect on that.
“We’re just trying to find some chemistry,” she said. “We told them that the offensive execution will come, but our effort needs to get better. We still don’t have everyone here and just got a couple back from quarantine. I’m hoping that when we get everyone here, we can get some chemistry.”
Both Perkins and Greter scored 12 for the Tigers, combining for five three-pointers in the process. Mount Gilead got 15 from Millisor, nine from Elson nad eight from Gompf. The team hit six times from long range in the game — with Millisor and Pfeifer both connecting twice. Scott noted that when his team could work in the summer, shooting was a big focus.
“We played hard and got on the floor after loose balls,” he said. “If we can get them all hitting on the same night, we’ll be pretty tough to beat.”
Rob Hamilton can be reached at 419-946-3010, ext. 1807. Connect with him on Twitter at @SportsMCS