The Mount Gilead sixth grade girls traveled to Cardington for a tournament to finish out their season this past weekend.
Friday night, they played Northmor to open the tournament. The Knights jumped out to an early lead and never looked back. Though the Indians fought tough on defense, they just couldn’t get enough baskets to fall. Northmor’s rebounding edge was the difference. Too many second-chance shots kept the Indians from closing the gap.
“The girls just came out flat and didn’t play like they had all year. Give credit to Northmor. They took it right to us to start the game. By the time we started playing the way we have all year it was too late. We simply ran out of time,” coach Jason Brooke said. Northmor outlasted MG 22-11.
Leading the Indians in their first game were Riley McCoy with four points and Kourtney James with three. Moriah Brooke and Kaylene Brinkman both had two.
The Indians came back Saturday morning to face a team from Northridge. Quickly, the Indians found themselves down early 7-0 after the first quarter. This time however, the girls from Mount Gilead were not going to let this one get out of hand. Great half-court defense and solid rebounding helped bring the Indians back to tie the score and eventually take a 14-10 lead at the half.
The second half saw MG come out and control the boards. Despite a very tightly called game, where 41 fouls were called, the Indians played great defense and unlike the night before, their shots down low found their mark. Once the Indians had the lead they weren’t going to relinquish it. Northridge threatened and stayed close for most of the second half, but after a couple big baskets at the end to seal it, Mount Gilead claimed a 24-14 victory.
The Indians were led by Brinkman with five, James scored four, Taylor Hashman sank four points, Moriah Brooke pumped in three. Meagan Clapper, Alexis Thompson, McCoy and Riley Burchett all added two points.
The Indians came back for a third day in a row on Sunday to face the same Northridge team they had beat the night before. For the entire first quarter both the Indians and the Vikings battled and scrapped trying to find an edge but neither would budge. Mount Gilead found themselves up only 2-0 after the first quarter. Unlike the night before were both teams found themselves in early foul trouble, Sunday’s match up was the opposite. It had the appearance of a backyard brawl. The officials let the teams play and didn’t call a lot of fouls.
The intensity didn’t stop in the second half. The Viking defense made it difficult for James, Riley and Staley to bring the ball up the court. They also made it difficult on the Indian post players. The ball was worked down low, but a very aggressive defense made it difficult to get any good shots off. After theee quarters the Indians fought hard, but found themselves down 14-8.
Feeling bloodied and bruised, the Indians picked themselves off the mat and went on the offensive to start the final period. As they have down all year, the Indians fought and clawed their way back on the boards with the help of Hashman, Brooke, Brinkman and McCoy and out front with tight defense by James, Burchett and Staley creating several Viking turnovers. With a minute left in the game the Indians sank a basket to go up 17-14.
With 30 seconds to go the Vikings made a free throw to pull within two. After some discussion with the officials on whether there was a lane violation by the Viking shooter, the Indians brought the ball back down the court looking to seal the victory. After the Indians missed a shot attempt with 10 seconds to go, Northridge rebounded the ball and drove to the right wing and heaved up and unbalanced three-point attempt with three seconds to go. And to the agony and despair of MG, the shot was banked in to take the lead. The Indians tried to get the ball up the court to get a final shot off, but it would he denied. The Indians suffered a heart-breaking loss, 18-17, ending the game, the tournament and the season.
The Indians were led in their final game of the season by Hashman with eight, McCoy with six, Brooke with two and James with one.
“I hated for the girls to lose the way they did,” said coach Brooke of his squad. “They fought so well – coming back from being down and then taking the lead only to lose on a desperation 3-point attempt.”
It was rough for the girls after the game. Brooke and coach Matt Brinkman both tried to take away the sting by encouraging the girls to keep their heads up and to not be ashamed of the effort they gave.
“The girls have improved so much from last year,” said Brooke. “Just as important though, they have bonded together as a team. Winning has been something they have learned to expect now… not hope for. There is a bright future ahead for the 6th grade girls basketball program at Mount Gilead.”
The girls finished with an 8-6 record.
Information received from Jason Brooke.