MONROE — Saydel’s girls basketball team was on pace at halftime to score more points than what it averaged in the first two games of the season on Nov. 30 during a Heart of Iowa Conference game against PCM.
But a conversation at halftime between head coach Jeff Lindsay, his coaching staff and the team changed things for the final two quarters.
The Mustangs got a huge night from their all-state guard Regan Freland and a big second half propelled PCM to a 72-28 win over the Eagles at home.
“We knew we needed to push the ball up the floor on offense,” Freland said. “We just had to get after it on defense. That was something that was emphasized at halftime.”
Freland finished with 24 points, eight assists, seven rebounds and six steals in the win. PCM outscored Saydel 27-6 in the third quarter and held the Eagles to just two points in the fourth quarter.
Saydel ended up five points short of its season average, and the 72 points scored by PCM were a season-high.
Freland missed some of the first half with a pair of fouls. Her return to the floor in the third quarter was a big reason the Mustangs (2-1 overall, 1-0 in the HOIC) pulled away and eventually kicked on the 35-point running clock.
“Regan being in the game demands so much attention. In the third quarter, she got going and got her teammates involved,” Lindsay said. “When others make a few buckets, the other team has to then adjust to guard them, too. That then leaves Regan one on one with someone and she wins that battle most of the time.”
Saydel opened the second half with a 3-pointer, but Freland scored the next seven points to put PCM up 41-23.
After three free throws by Saydel, the Mustangs rolled off 20 straight to end the quarter and a 24-0 run put PCM ahead 65-26.
Freland scored 12 of her 24 points in the third quarter.
Sophomore Lilli Baird gave the Mustangs a lift in the first half. Nine of her 14 points came in the first two frames. Her jumper late in the first quarter pushed PCM’s lead to 18-6. She buried a 3-pointer early in the second to extend the Mustangs’ lead back to double digits.
The Mustangs led 34-20 at halftime.
“We needed to go out there and play with pride, desire and passion,” Lindsay said. “We needed to compete. That was a challenge we gave them at halftime. The defense then ramped up.”
Freland’s ability to break down the defense with a simple dribble drive to the lane opened up easy buckets for teammates. Ten players scored in the game in all, and eight put in at least four.
Junior Lexi Kuecker got a few easy buckets in transition and finished with six in the game, while senior Mack Bussan and junior Kate McCarthy each scored four points inside the lane.
PCM outscored Saydel 11-2 in the fourth. The scoring included shots inside the lane by McCarthy, Kuecker and junior Sierra Foster, a jumper by sophomore Celeste Wagaman and three free throws combined by Freland and sophomore Emma George.
“Getting others involved is big for this team,” Freland said. “The other girls know where to be and are getting into position to get the ball in good spots. They are seeing the floor better.
“Everyone has a role. It’s a good mix, and you never know when one of us will have an off night.”
Freland and Baird combined to score 38 of the team’s 72 points. George had five points, 10 rebounds and three steals, McCarthy added four points, four rebounds, two assists and two steals and Foster chipped in six points, three rebounds and five steals.
Kuecker tallied six points and three assists. Senior Camryn Wignall finished with five points and three steals. Wagaman also had three steals as PCM had 28 steals in the win.
The game turned a bit chippy in the second half. Lindsay called a timeout in the fourth quarter to make sure his team didn’t get caught up in the extra curricular nonsense.
“I called a timeout to let our girls know that we aren’t going to play that way,” Lindsay said. “If anything continued, I wanted the girls to walk the other way. We wanted to take care of our business on the scoreboard, and I think we did that.”
Saydel (0-3, 0-1) did not have a player reach double figures in the game. Darian Garcia led the Eagles with six points and eight rebounds, and Emily Lowe tallied five points and seven boards.
PCM played at top-ranked North Polk on Dec. 4. The Mustangs face Gilbert at 6 p.m. on Dec. 6 in Gilbert.
Saydel 8-12-6-2 — 28
PCM 18-16-27-11 — 72
Saydel (FG/3pt-FT-F-TP) — Daleaney Shinn 0-0-2-0, Mackinzie Gach 0-0-1-0, Vanessa Garton 2-1-1-5, Darian Garcia 1/1-3-4-6, Orianna Martin 1-0-1-2, Alle Thompson 1/1-3-3-6, Kearra Abrams 0-0-2-0, Emily Lowe 0-5-1-5, Rachel Barton 2-0-1-4. Totals 5/2-12-16-28.
PCM (FG/3pt-FT-F-TP) — Sierra Foster 3-0-2-6, Camryn Wignall 2/1-0-3-5, Lexi Kuecker 3-0-1-6, Emma George 2-1-1-5, Celeste Wagaman 1-0-1-2, Lilli Baird 5/2-2-1-14, Morgan DeHaai 0-0-2-0, Regan Freland 7/1-9-2-24. Riley Hjortshoj 1-0-1-2, Kate McCarthy 2-0-2-4, Mack Bussan 2-0-2-4. Totals 24/4-12-18-72.