LEWISBURG – Mississinawa Valley clamped down on defense in the 2nd half and exploded on offense to bust open a close game at the half to defeat Tri-County North 63-37.
The Panthers jumped ahead 5-4 to start the game until senior Mattie Hiestand entered the game. Hiestand gave the Blackhawks a lift by knocking down a triple and 2 fielders on 3 straight possessions to jump ahead of North 11-7. They would then extend the lead on a triple by freshman point guard Taylee Woodbury and deuce from Allyson Byram for a 16-9 first quarter lead.
The Hawks couldn’t buy a bucket in the 2nd period which North would win 7-5 but still trailed at the break 21-16.
North leading scorer Rilee Terry was held to just one point in the first half which pleased Mississinawa Valley coach Michael Paige.
“Offensively in the first half, especially in the 2nd quarter our shots weren’t falling we only put up 21, which recently for us is not a good output. Defensively, I thought we didn’t do bad, we held him Terry to one point and the team to just 16,” Paige stated.
Mississinawa came out in the second half and immediately amped up the defensive pressure for the full 92 feet and it changed the pace of the game allowing the Hawks to get out and run and Taylee Woodbury would flourish as the freshman scored 11 points in the quarter while also dishing out 4 assists all triples, 2 by Hiestand and 1 each from Sienna Purdin and Jocelyn Hoggatt as they widened their lead to 44-29.
The Hawks continued to play up-tempo and had 7 different players score in the final stanza and they would coast home for the 63-37 win.
Tri-County North Rilee Terry who was held to just one in the first half would try and will her team back in the game in the 2nd half registering 10 points and a game high 11 for the Panthers but they had just too little help offensively to keep pace.
“In the second half, we picked up the defense up a little more there in the in the third quarter and we kind of just feed off our defense and hit 4 threes which really opened up our scoring,” Paige said after the game.
“When our defense can generate turnovers and we get Taylee out in the open floor she is so good and reading the defense and finding the open spots and getting everyone involved. She is very talented for a freshman and is only going to get better,” Paige praised.
Paige was also pleased to get his senior Mattie Hiestand back on the floor after missing some games due to illness.
“Her energy level wasn’t fully there so we wanted to use her sparingly, but you can see why she’s one of our captains because as soon as we put her in, she lifted the whole team up got us going in what was a close game in the first half,” stated.
The Hawks are starting to play well together and generating a lot of offense but just went 1-of-10 from the free throw line which Paige was aware.
“We shoot free throws all day long and actually have about four or five girls that are shooting really well … but we definitely have to pick it up because that will get you beat against a good team,” Paige concluded.
Mattie Hiestand and Taylee Woodbury both scored 18 points to lead all scorers in the game while Rilee Terry of North led the Panthers with 11.
North falls to 8-10 overall and 2-7 in the Western Ohio Athletic Conference.
Mississinawa Valley improves to 10-5 overall and 5-3 in WOAC.