BONDURANT — Prairie City-Monroe’s Lady Mustangs had a good season, finishing 15-8. Unfortunately for the girls, all good things must come to an end, and in the end, that’s what happened Wednesday night on the hardwood against Bondurant-Fararr’s Bluejays.
PCM started out even with the Jays, playing a back-and-forth game to a four-point lead following the first quarter, but coach Bret Grier saw even then that his team was in trouble.
“It was not happening tonight,” Grier said. “We got a little frazzled right from the start. Even though it was tied or when we were ahead, it just looked like we were a little panicky on offense. We didn’t look like we settled in offensively. A lot of credit goes to their defense, but we just never really settled down.”
The Mustangs ramped up the pressure to start the second quarter, forcing several missed shots from the Lady Jays, but PCM couldn’t seem to grab a rebound. B-F’s girls missed frequently from long range, but the girls underneath ran out for long rebounds and were able to get easy putback opportunities.
Ash Burrows scored underneath off an inbounds pass, followed by a penetrating score by Keely Bycroft to give the Jays a 15-14 lead and force a PCM timeout. Coming out of the timeout, Courtney Van Houweling scored on back-to-back steals, one leading to a layup and the other to free throws. Van Houweling sank 1-of-2 from the line to tie the score at 17, which is when the Jays made a run. B-F rolled off a 14-3 run to end the half, which included a stepback jumper by Lexi Atzen and a three by Madi Atzen.
“I think we were down 11 or 13 heading into the half, and we said, ‘Hey it’s not a mountain we have to climb. We need to take it possession by possession. Move the ball, take our time,’” Grier said. “Unfortunately, we still were frazzled by their guards, who were really quick. We just never really got into a flow until it was too late.”
Burrows scored on a putback to open the half followed by a three-point play converted by Emily Wilson. Rachel Stafford found Lexi Kain cutting to the basket for PCM’s first points, but by then the Mustangs trailed 39-22. Burrows scored five straight after swishing a three, and PCM took a timeout.
Burrows and Madi Atzen hit threes to push the lead to its highest point at 25. The Mustangs tried to claw back into it. Abbi Gilson scored on a layup. Katie Vande Wall scored on the next possession, and Rachel Gulling knocked down a 3-pointer. Gilson sank two foul shots before the end of the quarter, making it 53-37 after three quarters.
Gilson came out determined in the fourth. She converted a 3-point play to open it up and chop the lead to 13. However, threes by Burrows and Amy Stock extended the Bluejay lead, and B-F held on to advance.
Van Houweling led PCM with 18 points. Gilson was second on the team with nine, and Gulling scored five points.
Burrows knocked down eight shots and five more from the foul line for 24 points. Madi Atzen hit five threes, a majority of which came in the second half, to wind up with 19 points.
The Mustangs have hope for the future. Although PCM’s girls will not get any help in the size department, which was the team’s main weakness this season according to Grier, the Mustangs have two big time scorers coming back in Van Houweling and Gulling and a promising group of freshman girls, who spent valuable time in the rotation this season.
“We lose two seniors that started for us in Abbie and Lexi. They’ll be tough to replace,” Grier said. “We do have a nice core coming back. We’ve got three juniors who started for us and a whole crew of freshmen who played a ton for us. We’ll be able to build off of that.”
PCM Mustangs 14-6-17-10 — 47
Bondurant-Farrar 10-21-22-17 — 70
PCM — Van Houweling 3/2-4-6-18, Kain 2-3-2-6, Jayci Vos 0-1-0-0, Gulling 2/1-4-0-7, Katie Vande Wall 1-2-0-2, Rachel Freland 1/1-4-0-5, Gilson 3-5-3-9, Kayla Jennings 0-1-0-0. TOTALS: 12/4-24-11-47
B-F — Logan Farmer 0-1-0-0, Lexi Atzen 1-4-3-5, Emily Wilson 1-1-3-5, Madi Atzen 1/5-2-2-19, Ash Burrows 5/3-2-5-24, Amy Stock 0/1-2-0-3, Keely Bycroft 5-4-2-12, Giavana Vance 0-1-0-0, Emma Gaber 1-1-0-2. TOTALS: 14/9-18-15-70