West Grand earns victory on Middle Park court
Sky-Hi Daily News
After losing a close game to West Grand’s girls the previous week, Middle Park High’s Lady Panthers were looking forward to a rematch in Thursday night’s first basketball game of the High Country Invitational in Granby.
Not only did Middle Park’s hoopsters fall a second time to the Lady Mustangs, but this time it was not even close. West Grand powered to a 38-24 victory on Middle Park High’s court.
“West Grand improved greatly from our first game with them,” said Middle Park coach Cheri Amos. “They had some good ball-handling and played very hard.”
The Lady Mustangs opened up an 8-4 lead by the end of the first quarter after a couple of baskets by Brook Cecil. Middle Park’s scoring included a couple of free throws by Shelley McLean and Kristin VanHorn.
The second quarter saw West Grand widening the gap as their center Rose Hargadine made her presence felt with four baskets. The Lady Panthers’ Nichole Fuqua shot two points while her teammates, Kathy Childress and Shelley McLean, made one free throw apiece.
Trailing 19-8 at halftime, Middle Park came out strongly in the third quarter with baskets by VanHorn and McLean, who also drilled the hoop for the game’s only three-pointer. But the Lady Mustangs made a strong comeback of their own in the quarter’s last four minutes with baskets by Rebecca Roller and Hargadine.
The pace definitely quickened in the fourth quarter with Middle Park’s McLean scoring two more baskets and VanHorn scoring one. But the Lady Mustangs maintained the points spread and refused to give it up with baskets by Roller, Cecil, Hargadine and Jessica Elliott.
For Middle Park, Shelly McLean led the team’s scoring with 12 points, followed by Kristin VanHorn with seven. Rachel Linke earned five rebounds.
“We just weren’t able to get inside this time,” Amos said. “During the first half, it felt like we were playing in slow motion. In the second half, we started to penetrate and get outside shots.”
The Lady Panthers also picked up their defense in the second half.
“West Grand was penetrating along the baselines and we started shutting them down,” Amos said. “In the second half, we brought in Milly Varner who put all kinds of pressure on West Grand’s ball handlers. She helped wake us up and get us into the game.”
Summing up the game, Amos complimented West Grand once again, saying the Lady Mustangs had surprised Middle Park with their improved play over their first meeting.
“As for us, it’s not an excuse, but it’s important to remember we are a young team with eight of our 11 players in varsity for the first time this season,” Amos said. “Our team has a lot of potential and we’ve got to keep moving forward.”
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