Kremmling " Lady Mustangs earn one-point win over Wildcats
The Lady Mustangs of West Grand High School had gone 17 games this season and made only one three pointer.
On Friday night against the North Park Wildcats, the Mustangs converted three shots from long range and needed every single point as they edged their rivals from Walden, 43-42.
Rose Hargadine nailed her first three-pointer of the season in the second quarter and Renea Ellison dropped in the first two three-pointers of her high school career in the fourth quarter.
The Wildcats owned the first and third quarters, while West Grand had the upper hand in the second and fourth frames.
North Park broke out to an 18-11 first-quarter lead as Kaitlyn Hanson scored eight points and Brittney McNaney scored six for the Wildcats. All of the shots were from at least 15 feet as the players from Walden were hot from long range.
In the second quarter, West Grand held North Park to five points and scored 12 to knot the score at 23 points apiece at halftime.
“I was very pleased with our defensive effort in the second quarter,” coach Larry Banman said. “The same thing happened when we played them in North Park. They shot very well early in the game and we had trouble stopping them until we switched defenses.”
Hargadine had five points in the frame and played strong defense, blocking three shots. The Mustangs also converted four of five free throws in the first half. Freshman Hannah Howell made both of her free throws, Rebecca Roller converted a three-point play with one shot from the charity stripe and Brook Cecil made one of her two
In the third frame, Hillary Rizor of North Park scored 10 points, including two shots from behind the three-point arc.
“With North Park, you always know they are going to shoot well,” Banman said. “They are well coached and they know when to shoot. It didn’t seem like they missed any shots in the third quarter.”
The Wildcats built a nine-point lead that held into the fourth quarter and looked to have the game in hand. The Mustangs switched defenses again in the fourth quarter and were able to start crawling back in the contest.
The two key shots were the three pointers from Ellison.
“It looked like she has been hitting pressure shots her entire life,” coach Banman said.
The three-pointers and a two-pointer from Hargadine helped erase the deficit and Cecil hit one of two free throws to tie the game as it edged to its conclusion.
Hanson then hit the second of two free-throws, giving the Wildcats a one-point lead. The teams traded possessions, with the Mustangs calling a timeout with 34 seconds left to play.
“I told the girls that I wanted to run some time off of the clock,” Banman said, “and that I wanted them to take a good shot. My final words to them were that I trusted them to decide what a good shot would be.”
As the ball worked its way around the perimeter, Hargadine suddenly found Cecil alone on the left wing. Cecil, a junior forward, never hesitated as she squared her shoulders and nailed a 10-footer with 14 seconds left to play.
The Wildcats called a timeout and set up a play. Hanson worked the ball upcourt, closely guarded by Erin Beason of West Grand. Hanson created minimal contact with Beason, but it was enough to convince the official that a foul needed to be called.
It was a game where all of the bounces had to go in favor of West Grand down the stretch. And the ball bounced one more time in favor of the host Mustangs as Hanson’s shot was just off to the right.
Roller grabbed the rebound but was tied up by a North Park player.
Both coaches were out of timeouts so the players scrambled to get into position. A final shot by the Wildcats hit both sides of the rim, but didn’t find its way home.
Hargadine grabbed the board and the Mustangs secured their third straight win.
West Grand improved its final regular season record to 12-6 and its Western Slope League record to 5-4.
The Mustangs were led in scoring by Hargadine with 11 points, Cecil who put in 10 points and Ellison, who scored eight. Roller added six points and Jessica Raecke chipped in with four points for the victory.
Hargadine led the team in rebounding with eight while Roller had six boards and Cecil grabbed five caroms. In the assist category, Hargadine led the team in four with Ellison adding three to the team total of 10. Hargadine was also credited with four blocked shots.Hanson had 16 point for the visiting Wildcats and Rizor scored 12 points.
In the first round of district play, the Mustangs will be traveling to Rangely this Saturday to play the Panthers.
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