By ROB HAMILTON
Turnovers and a slow start offensively proved costly to Mount Gilead in a 60-40 girls’ basketball loss to Heath on Tuesday.
Heath scored a lot of points in transition after forcing turnovers, while the Indians struggled to put points on the board from the field over the first two quarters.
“The girls played hard; I never will question that,” said MG coach Larry Leach. “We only shot 4-of-26 in the first half. Their press didn’t bother us to start, but we turned the ball over in our half-court offense.”
Two of those makes came in a tightly-contested first quarter. After falling behind 6-1 four minutes into the game, the Indians went on a 7-2 run. Aly Casto scored from inside, Jenna Shipman hit two free throws and Rebecca Kindred added a three-pointer to tie the score at eight before Heath scored twice from the foul line to take a two-point lead after eight minutes.
The Bulldogs then rode their defense to a fast start in the second quarter, scoring the first eight points of the period with four of those coming as the result of steals. The Indians battled back, going on a 6-2 run, but wouldn’t get any closer than six points and trailed 24-17 at the intermission.
A Heath three-pointer to open the third quarter was answered by one from Shipman. Baskets by Hope Hack and Kindred brought the Indians within a 30-24 margin, but MG only scored three points on a long-range shot by Hack over the final four minutes of the period.
During that time, Heath went on a 9-3 run to take a 12-point lead into the fourth. The Bulldogs then exploded for 21 points in the final period, 13 of which were scored in the first four minutes, to pull away for their 60-40 win.
Leach noted that his team, which has many players splitting time between the varsity and JV levels, may have been worn down by lack of depth. For the majority of the contest, he relied on his starters, with only a couple bench players getting into the contest.
“Our lack of depth is a struggle now,” he said. “They play hard and I love it and we have a team full of track athletes, so conditioning isn’t a problem, but if we play five girls, it’ll catch up.”
Hack finished with 13 points to lead all scorers, Kindred added nine points and Shipman finished with eight. Leach notes that his team’s hustle will lead to good things down the road, as the overall execution improves.
“I can’t be disappointed because these kids played hard,” he said. “As the season goes on and we knock down shots, we’ll be in ball games.”
Rob Hamilton can be reached at 419-946-3010, ext. 1807. Connect with him on Twitter at @SportsMCS