MONROE — Prairie City-Monroe junior Regan Freland admitted that the Mustangs' slow start may have had something to do with Albia's record.
The Blue Demons came into the Class 3A Region 7 quarterfinal game with a record of 1-15. But Albia held an early lead and only trailed 13-10 after one quarter.
But once Freland and sophomore Lilli Baird got going, the Mustangs never looked back during a 59-36 home rout.
"We kind of went in knowing their record and that's never a good thing," Freland said. "We were able to finally get going and it's easier when the shots go in. It's a good feeling to win and move on."
Freland finished with 23 points, nine rebounds and three assists and she combined to hit seven 3-pointers with Baird in helping the Mustangs pull away.
PCM outscored Albia 17-7 in the second and continued to pull away with a 15-8 third quarter.
"They got heated up eventually," PCM coach Jeff Lindsay said of his two best shooters. "We may have had some playoff pre-game jitters. We settled in after the first quarter and got contributions from multiple players."
Seven different players scored in the game for PCM, which takes a 9-11 record into its regional semifinal game against 3A No. 1 North Polk on Wednesday night.
Freland had 23 points and Baird chipped in 14 points, five rebounds and three assists, but senior Mack Bussan grabbed five rebounds, senior Camryn Wignall grabbed three boards and collected five steals and junior Kate McCarthy tallied three rebounds, two steals and three assists.
Sophomore Emma George grabbed four rebounds and scored seven points. Junior Sierra Foster also swiped four steals and scored five points. The Mustangs tallied 18 steals in the win.
PCM had to overcome a hot start from Albia (1-16). Baird began the game with a 3-pointer, but the Blue Demons took a lead when they buried a trio of treys at the other end.
The game stayed closed after Rylee Leshen hit her second 3-pointer to tie the score at 13-all. The Mustangs got a jumper from Wignall and 3-poiners from George and Freland to go up by six.
PCM finished the half on a 9-0 run and led 30-17 at halftime after another trey by Baird.
The Mustangs overcame another stretch where Freland was pushed to the bench because of foul trouble. The supporting cast never let the game get away from them.
"You never know what the game will bring," Freland said. "They have done a good job lately of playing when I go out. They held things down tonight with me on the bench."
Albia scored the first five points of the third quarter to trim its deficit to eight. But Baird and Freland answered with back-to-back 3-pointers and Freland added a layup to extend the lead to 16.
The lead was 45-25 after three quarters, and they never led by fewer than 14 the rest of the way. After Albia got the deficit to 14, PCM ended the game with a 9-0, including a stretch of five straight points by Foster.
"We tried to expose them inside. And then when they pack it in to take that away, we want to kick it back out and that's what happened," Lindsay said. "We were able to shoot it calmly from out there and the shots went in."
Albia was led by Carlie Ford's 10 points. Leshen scored nine and Maddy Persons chipped in eight.
The PCM and North Polk regional semifinal game is at 7 p.m. on Wednesday in Alleman. The two conference rivals know each other well. The Mustangs will try to flip the script against the top-ranked Comets (19-2), which have two double-digit wins over PCM this season.
"They know what we have. We know what they have," Lindsay said. "It's going to come down to hitting shots early. We can't let them get out to quick, early leads and we have to limit their fastbreak points."