By Andy Krutsinger, Mt. Pleasant News
Keokuk?s vaunted defense was just too much for the Mt. Pleasant girls on Friday night. The Panthers fell 44-31 in their Southeast Conference showdown and had to settle for the season split with the Chiefs.
Mt. Pleasant got off to a decent start. Kalynn Batey scored five points in the first quarter and Lydia Stewart had four off the bench. Keokuk out-dueled the Panthers by one point in the first eight minutes and Mt. Pleasant trailed 10-9 after one period.
Mt. Pleasant?s offensive struggles hit a tipping point in the middle two periods. Keokuk?s defense was all over the court, creating havoc and causing turnovers throughout the game, but the Chiefs especially bothered the Panthers in the second and third periods.
Keokuk outscored Mt. Pleasant 12-6 in the second quarter to take a 22-15 lead into the half. The Chiefs heated up on the offensive side of the ball in the third quarter, taking it 16-5 to open up a 38-20 lead.
Mt. Pleasant was able to scrap back a little in the final period, getting seven points out of Batey to keep it relatively close, but they couldn?t get a big enough run to put the pressure back on Keokuk. Despite an 11-6 advantage in the fourth, the Panthers walked away with a 13-point loss.
?They were right in our shorts all night,? Panther coach Curt Watson said after the loss. ?Give (Keokuk) coach (Michael) Davis credit. They came with a game plan (and) slowed it down. They were deliberate and took good shots all night, and once we got behind it was just really hard to play catch up with them.?
Batey finished with 15 points to lead Mt. Pleasant. Stewart finished with six. Isabel Ashton scored five. Sadie Carrasco had three, and Maddie Williamson finished with two.
The Panthers fell to 6-9 overall and 3-3 in the conference with the loss. The Panthers are on pace to tie for second with Keokuk if no upsets happen thorughout the rest of the conference schedule.
Mt. Pleasant will look to shake it off tonight (Monday) in Burlington when they take on Notre Dame in a non-conference road game. That contest is scheduled to tip off at 7:30 p.m.
The junior varsity team will play two quarters before the varsity squad takes the court, and they?ll be coming off a thrilling victory over the JV Chiefs on Friday. Karsyn Lamm hit a floater in the final five seconds to give the junior varsity girls a 40-38 win.
Lamm had 13 points and four assts in the JV win. Grace Bittle had nine points and eight rebounds. Emma Huckabone had eight points and five assists. Lydia Stewart had six points, and the duo of Emma Rugg and Elli Liechty had two points apiece.