The Prairie City-Monroe Mustangs outlasted the Eagles of Saydel 53-33 on Monday night. The game was far from uneventful, and although as the final score indicates it was a fairly lopsided game for most of the night, it was also extremely sloppy.
Most of the Mustangs’ points came off baskets in transition along with plenty of free throws as a result of early foul trouble for the Eagles. It was an extremely volatile game with plenty of deflections, loose balls and turnovers resulting in buckets for the Mustangs. PCM coach Bret Grier commended his team’s effort in making sure they finished off their transition opportunities.
“First half especially, they did a very good job of finishing in transition,” Grier said. “The other thing I like to see is that not only was one girl coming down with the basketball, but we had girls trailing ready to rebound if there was a missed shot. We weren’t doing that early on in the season. They ran the court really well.”
Grier was happy to get the win, but he was also disappointed with many aspects of his team’s performance and highlighted the areas that they need to improve.
“We didn’t react very well to pressure. We were slow to get into our offense, especially when they came out against us in man-to-man,” Grier said. “(Tonight) against North Polk, if we do that against them, we’re in trouble. We need to get into our offense early.”
Specifically, Grier wanted to see his girls give a better effort on the boards. That, along with one person not trying to do too much on offense, were areas he definitely saw room to improve. Despite his team’s success in the fast-break, he felt the half-court offense lacked ball movement.
“Most importantly, I thought we got pounded on the board and it wasn’t like they had a six (foot) four (inch) girl in there. They just outworked us. That’’s tough to see” Grier said. “We have good athletes, so early in the game we try to push, push, push. But especially in a game like this where it’s kind of out of hand early on, we want to try to slow it down. We wanted to try to see if we could bring the ball down and get into our offense and work the ball around. I didn’t think we did a very good job of that tonight. When you get a big lead, some of the girls want to see what they can do, so they try to make a move and drive baseline, and it gets ugly.”
PCM sophomore Courtney Van Houweling led the Mustangs in scoring with 15 points as she was the most effective player on the floor. She was able to convert many of the Eagles’ mistakes into easy buckets in the second and third quarter. She also did a fine job of passing out on the break.
Senior Krisha Houseman also netted 15 points for the Mustangs. Most of her points came off of open jumpers early in the contest. She and Van Houweling started off the scoring by hitting back-to-back three pointers to give the Mustangs an early lead and forcing Saydel coach Tig Johnson to call a quick timeout.
Following the timeout, PCM got another two quick buckets in transition from junior Lexi Kain and senior Kelsey Townsend. A baseline jumper by Houseman gave PCM an eary 11-0 lead and Johnson took another timeout.
Coming out of that timeout, the Eagles finally were able to score a basket on a layup by Brooklyn Allgood. Saydel fought back and eventually pulled within six points at 14-8 early in the second quarter after scoring three straight buckets in the paint.
Their rally was short-lived, however, because Townsend dropped a three on Saydel to spark another rally from the Mustangs. Here is where the foul trouble came about for the Eagles. They got into the bonus early in the second quarter and free throws ultimately gave PCM a 29-10 lead at halftime.
It was more of the same in the third quarter. Transition buckets off of Saydel turnovers gave PCM a 42-18 lead with 2:30 left in the third quarter. They far from cruised to the finish, however. The fourth quarter was a major struggle for the Mustangs on both ends, giving up buckets off of offensive rebounds and not managing much offensively. Their lead was so big at that point that it didn’t matter as they held on for the 20-point victory.
The Mustangs have now won eight consecutive games after struggling early on in the season. They will try to sharpen up their game Tuesday night as they look to avenge a 23-point loss to North Polk from earlier in the season.
PCM 53, Saydel 33
P — 12 17 19 5 — 53
S — 4 6 12 11 — 33
P — Houseman 15, Van Houweling 15, Townsend 8, Gilson 7, Telfer 6, Kain 2,
S — Bowman 8, Allgood 8, Jensen 6, Johnson 3, Chubb 4, Thompson 2, Milkus 2