By Andy Krutsinger, Mt. Pleasant News
West Burlington got a taste of how deadly the Mt. Pleasant press can be on Thursday night.
The Panthers turned up the heat against West Burlington from the opening tip, smashing the Falcons 62-30 in their final game before winter break.
Mt. Pleasant came out in a full court pressure look, and it was hard for the Falcons to even get the ball past half court. The Panthers stole inbound after inbound pass, leading to easy layups and open three-pointers.
Brady Sartorius was particularly active early on and had 14 points before you could blink. Jordan Magnani had nine points on three makes from three-point land and when the first quarter ended, Mt. Pleasant already held a 25-3 advantage.
The Panthers had the lead as high as 31-3 before the Falcons could score again. Mt. Pleasant led by over 30 points down the second-quarter stretch, but a couple of free throws at the end of the half helped West Burlington cut the lead down to 38-9 when the teams headed to the locker rooms. Sartorius reached 21 points before the break.
From then on, it was cruise control for the Panthers. Mt. Pleasant was able to hold on to their lead, clear the bench in the fourth and walk away with a 32-point victory.
After the game, coach Paul Rundquist complimented the team?s defensive effort, as well as their ability to get off to a hot start from the field
?We really feel like if we?re not shooting the ball, our defense will keep us in ballgames,? Rundquist said. ?We started off great tonight and shot the ball really well, but I thought for the most part, we defended well.?
Sartorius finished the night with 26 points and Jordan Magnani added 17 to give the Panther backcourt another strong night. Kieran Kohorst scored five points in the win. Tucker Johnson, Colin Mulford, Maison Ashton and Rhett Zeglen scored three points apiece, and Jonathan Ita finished the night with two.
Mt. Pleasant moved to 5-2 this season with the win. The Panthers will begin 2018 with a rivalry game, when they host Washington on Friday, Jan. 5, at 7:30 p.m. The Panthers will face Central Lee in another home game the following Saturday.