MONROE — The first halves in both games between PCM and Roland-Story were very similar this season.
In both games, the Class 3A No. 3 Norse held 10- and 11-point leads. The second two quarters in each game is where the Mustangs showed improvements.
Back in early January, PCM trailed R-S 29-19 at halftime but went on to lose 63-23 after being outscored 28-2 in the third quarter.
In the latest meeting on Feb. 4, PCM trailed R-S 30-18 at the break but battled through the final two quarters and lost the Heart of Iowa Conference home game 53-36.
“We came out and played a lot better in the third quarter,” PCM coach Jeff Lindsay said. “That’s usually been a tough quarter for us, but the girls got after it really well against a tough team.”
Take away the first quarter where R-S outscored PCM 19-8, and it was a much more competitive game than the first meeting a month ago.
Roland-Story spoiled Senior Night for four PCM seniors — Regan Freland, Sierra Foster, Kate McCarthy and Lexi Kuecker.
PCM’s girls’ and boys’ basketball teams both warmed up before the game with T-Shirts that read “Mindy’s Mighty Mustangs” in support of Mindy McCarthy, who is currently battling pancreatic cancer. The coaches of both programs wore the shirts during the game.
Mindy McCarthy is Kate and Hannah McCarthy’s mother. Hannah McCarthy is a senior basketball manager.
“I am glad we were able to do this for Mindy on her daughters’ Senior Night,” Lindsay said. “We are thinking of all of them. We want to support them in any manner necessary.”
The Mustangs (9-11 overall, 7-6 in conference play) hung tough in the second quarter. Freland made a pair of free throws, Lilli Baird nailed a 3-pointer and Foster scored inside to keep the deficit at 11. It was 12 at halftime.
The Norse (15-2, 9-2) outscored PCM 11-10 in the second and third quarters. McCarthy had a three-point play early in the third and then a 7-0 run trimmed the margin to six.
Freland, Baird and Foster combined to make four free throws and Baird drained a trey with 1:42 on the clock.
Roland-Story finished the fourth with seven straight points and the run went to 10-0 in the fourth quarter. The closest PCM got the rest of the way was 16.
Lindsay liked the way his team competed even in a double-digit loss.
“We hustled so hard after the ball. We had girls diving on the floor and kept the ball alive,” Lindsay said. “We ended up possessing the ball and got a nice shot but it didn’t go in. R-S called time out and I applauded my team. They were down because they didn’t make the shot. But win or lose, when you play the game like that, that’s basketball. I was proud of them. They played hard and played the way the game is supposed to be played. I can live with that effort.”
Freland led the Mustangs with 14 points, four rebounds, two assists, two steals and two blocks. Baird added eight points, four boards and two assists, Foster had six points, three rebounds and two steals and Kate McCarthy chipped in four points and four rebounds.
Riley Hjortshoj had five rebounds and Celeste Wagaman grabbed three boards.
The Mustangs ended their regular season at Gilbert on Feb. 11. The Class 3A postseason begins against Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont at 5 p.m. on Feb. 15 in Eddyville.
PCM 49, South Hamilton 38
JEWELL — PCM overcame a slow start and a slow-paced game to rally past South Hamilton on Feb. 7.
Seven Mustangs scored, 49 fouls were called and 62 free throws were shot as PCM downed South Hamilton 49-38 in HOIC play.
“The girls hung in there and battled back,” Lindsay said. “It was a hard fought road win. We held our composure well in a game that had very little flow to it. There were a lot of stoppages.”
PCM trailed 11-2 after one quarter but outscored the Hawks 17-4 in the second and 30-23 in the second half.
Freland tallied 17 points, five rebounds and five assists to lead the Mustangs. Baird had 10 points and seven rebounds, Hjortshoj finished with six points, a career-high 10 rebounds and two steals and Foster put in eight points.
McCarthy had four points and six boards and George and Wagaman each scored two points. McCarthy, George and Freland all fouled out. PCM made 16-of-32 from the free-throw line.
“We were able to eventually take advantage of things we saw we could exploit,” Lindsay said. “Riley (Hjortshoj) did a good job at both ends. She had a big game for us.”
South Hamilton (6-11, 4-8) was 8-of-30 from the foul line.
The Mustangs swept the season series after beating South Hamilton 38-32 at home in late January.