PCM girls edge out CMB in final minutes
BAXTER — Free throws aren't the most part of basketball, but if the Prairie City-Monroe and Collins-Maxwell-Baxter girls basketball teams proved anything Friday, it's that they're important.
The Raiders (6-14, 4-12 Heart of Iowa Conference) went on a run and took an eight-point lead at halftime, but the Mustangs (12-6, 10-5) rallied in the third and eventually iced the game at the free throw line to earn a tightly-contested 51-49 victory.
"We didn't play but five girls in the second half with a full-court man-to-man," PCM coach Bret Grier said. "They had every excuse to be tired and have weak legs to miss their free throws, but it showed a lot of resolve for them to knock down those shots in a tight game."
The first quarter was all shot-for-shot as CMB took a 16-14 lead thanks to two late 3-pointers from sophomore Lexi Breon. PCM atually scored the game's first six points with a balanced attack, but the up-and-down tempo eventually made its way toward the Raiders.
After sophomore Courtney Van Houweling and senior Kelsey Townsend regained the lead for PCM in the second, the Raider defense intervened in a big way. Turnovers led to an 11-1 CMB run that close the half and gave the Raiders a 31-23 lead.
“We have a hard time coming out and setting our own intensity,” CMB coach Eric Padget said. “We do a good job of matching intensity once we see it, and I think that’s what happened tonight. PCM came out with all kinds of intensity and it took us a little while to realize that. When we did, we rode that momentum to halftime.”
That lead didn’t last long, however, as PCM slashed into the deficit with a 10-4 run to open the second half. Along with a defensive shift, Townsend made her presence known even more late in the quarter, scoring the final six points and hitting a baseline jumper at the buzzer to give PCM a 40-37 lead going into the fourth.
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