MONROE — Prairie City-Monroe’s girls went on a big run to end last regular season, and although this year’s Mustang basketball team has plenty of new faces, they are beginning to play like the Mustangs of old.
PCM took down the visiting Pella Christian Eagles 53-49 for their third straight win of the season. The Eagles dropped their third game of the last four.
PCM led 10-9 after a back-and-forth opening quarter that saw multiple lead-changes. PC’s Lauren Jungling nailed a 3-pointer in the opening seconds, giving the Eagles a 12-10 lead. The Eagles got a stop, and the next time up the floor, Jungling went for another three but missed. Getting the rebound and the putback score was junior Hannah Beltman. PC continued to work the ball into the paint, and Beltman put two more post moves in for baskets to give PC a 18-10 edge when PCM coach Bret Grier took the team’s first timeout.
Grier must have had the magic words for his girls, as they jumped right on the Eagles. Junior Courtney Van Houweling missed on a three, but Abbi Gilson was there to clean up the miss with a rebound and a subsequent score. Junior Rachel Gulling nailed a 3-pointer to bring PCM within a point at 18-17. Kayla Jennings and Gulling picked off passes and had fastbreak layups on back-to-back possessions to give PCM a 21-20 lead, and this time it was PC coach Kevin Van Manen who tried to rally his team during a timeout.
PCM passed through the 2-3 zone of the Eagles for scores on consecutive possessions, taking a 25-23 lead, but PC nailed a three right before the half to go into the break with the lead.
PC’s Autumn Vos nailed a jumper coming out of the half. Van Houweling answered by finding Lexi Kain under the hoop for an easy score. The scoring stalled out for a couple of minutes until Beltman converted a three-point play to take a 33-29 lead. PC held the Mustangs without a bucket, but Van Houweling stepped into the passing lane and went the other way for the layup. Gulling added a bucket on the next time down to knot the game at 33.
That’s when Van Houweling got hot. She nailed two 3-pointers and ended the quarter by drawing contact going to the bucket and banking in the shot to give PCM a 42-35 lead after three quarters.
PC started the fourth off with a five-point run. Van Houweling put an end to it by finding Gilson under the bucket on an inbound pass for the score. Gulling nailed a three on the next trip up the floor to re-establish the seven-point edge. Kain swatted an attempt away, and Van Houweling found Katie Vande Wall on the fastbreak to give PCM a 49-40 lead.
PC started to foul, but PCM made enough of its free throws to hold the Eagles off for the victory.
PC heads to Oskaloosa tonight to kickoff a girls-boys doubleheader, while the Mustangs will take on South Hamilton at Jewell.
PC 9-17-9-14 — 49
PCM 10-15-17-11 — 53
Points — Van Houweling 15, Kain 13, Gulling 13, Gilson 9
Rebounds — Van Houweling 9, Jennings 5, Kain 5, Gilson 4, Gulling 3
Assists — Van Houweling 10, Jennings 3, Kain 2