The Mount Gilead sixth grade girls’ basketball team dominated North Union to finish their regular season strong.
The Indians played host to the Wildcats this past Saturday. After starting a slowly, only leading 2-0 after the first quarter, MG came out with a little more intensity and focus in the second. Three steals each from Riley Burchett and Kourtney James translated to a 10-2 halftime score.
The Wildcats matched the rebounding efforts of Shelby Thatcher, Kaylene Brinkman and Moriah Brooke, each with 2 rebounds, down low during the first half. Rebound totals for the two teams were nearly equal in the first half.
Keeping the game closer than it should have been was some sloppy play on offense and missed shots by the Indians. Otherwise, the deficit for the Wildcats at half time could have been greater.
“They just weren’t very crisp that first quarter,” coach Jason Brooke recalled. A fire needed to be lit under them.
Coaches Matt Brinkman and Brooke challenged the girls at halftime – demanding they step up and expect more out of themselves both on offense and defense. They did just that! Opening the second half with a couple steals by Becca Staley, the Indians scored quickly and often – led by Staley herself. Staley scored on three consecutive trips down the court.
“Becca owned the third period,” Brooke acknowledged. “She was determined to put the game away herself.”
Seven different girls got into the scoring column for the Indians. In addition to Staley’s six points, Kourtney James and Riley McCoy each scored four.
“Kourtney is a tremendous ball handler and works her butt off on defense,” Coach Brooke said of his point guard. “Riley McCoy, also, has been a tough force down low on offense and defense. She understands the post position and plays it well.”
Also contributing on the scoreboard was Taylor Hashman. She netted three points to go along with her five rebounds. Alexis Thompson, Brinkman and Burchett each had two points as well.
“Total points for a player doesn’t always reflect a good individual effort,” Brooke said. “Riley has been a tremendous leader on our team all year. She leads by example. She busts her butt and demands the same from her teammates. Not only does she play great defense, ending the game with four steals, she had four assists as well.”
The Indians played great team defense once again. Despite not getting on the scoreboard, Charity Walters, Meagan Clapper, Thatcher and Brooke all helped seal the victory by stepping up and playing very sound defense.
“They worked hard, challenged every shot and boxed out great,” Coach Brooke said of his defensive effort. The Wildcats had very few second-chance shots.
The Indians put away all doubt with a flurry of baskets in the final quarter to notch up another victory with a final score of 23-2.
“These girls have been an awesome group of kids to work with. They listen during practice, they’ve challenged themselves to get better each week and they have really bonded well as a team. They have learned a lot and have had fun doing so. We couldn’t be more proud of them and proud to have been able to coach them,” Brooke said for Brinkman and himself.
The Indians play in a final tournament next weekend at Cardington to close out a very successful season.
Information received from Jason Brooke.