By Andy Krutsinger, Mt. Pleasant News
WINFIELD ? The Winfield-Mt. Union basketball team showed a ton of fight in their regional opener against Holy Trinity on Wednesday night but the Crusader defense stepped up in the final minutes and HTC ran away late for a 53-38 win.
The Wolves relied heavily on senior post Lexee Hartsock in the first half. Hartsock scored the team?s first 11 points and kept W-MU in the game early.
HTC led the game 14-6 after the first quarter and held a 23-13 lead with four and a half minutes remaining in the half.
The Wolves went on a huge run to end the first half. W-MU scored the final 11 points of the half, seven of which came from Karley Schlee, and the Wolves held a 24-23 lead at the half.
The two teams fought back and forth in the third quarter. The game was 30-30 with two and a half minutes left, but HTC went on a 7-0 run to grab a 37-30 advantage. Allie McArtor hit a shot in the final minute and the Wolves trailed 37-32 after three periods.
W-MU cut the lead to four points, at 40-36, early on in the fourth quarter but HTC?s defense was too good down the stretch. The Crusaders forced the Lady Wolves to turn the ball over again and again in the final minutes, and eventually broke the game open with a handful of layups and free throws.
W-MU had a rough night from the charity stripe themselves. The Wolves hit just nine of their 19 attempts on the night.
?I think we put ourselves in a funk,? head coach Mitch Wachs said after the game. ?We didn?t get enough shots off. In the fourth quarter, we were still turning the ball over because we weren?t aggressive with it in the backcourt. Then, when we did get to the line, we struggled.?
Hartsock finished with 17 points to lead the team, also pulling down 13 rebounds and blocking two shots. Schlee scored 11 points. McArtor filled the stat sheet with six pionts, 15 rebounds and five steals, and Lauren Jamison finished with four points.
It was the last game for five W-MU seniors; Schlee, Jamison, McArtor, Hartsock and Molly Jennings. Pearl Krieger-Coble, another senior, was one of two W-MU starters who went down with a season-ending injury early in the year.
After the loss, Coach Wachs talked about what he will miss about his seniors.
?They?re so much fun,? Wachs said. ?I told them, we know we?re not the best athletes (and) they?re aware of that. But you can?t find anybody with a better attitude (or) a better teammate. That group of six mean a lot to the program. That?s a lot of positive leadership and they?re awesome teammates. They always wanted what was best for the team, and I?ll miss that the most.?