February 28, 2024

Late free throws power PCM girls past rival Nevada

Mustangs score first season sweep of Cubs since 2016-17 season

Addison Steenhoek
Tori Lindsay

MONROE — After the PCM girls’ basketball team blew a seven-point lead in the fourth quarter against Nevada on Tuesday, the conversation entering overtime was simple.

“It just came down to, if we win the next four minutes, we still win the game,” PCM head girls basketball coach Sami Allison-Rodriguez said. “We needed to forget about the fourth quarter and just go play. We talk about trying to win the quarter all of the time and overtime is no different.”

Thanks in part to an incredible performance from the free-throw line in the extra session, the Mustangs dominated overtime and finished off a season sweep of the Cubs with a 51-40 home win on Senior Night.

Jorja Teeter

It was PCM’s first sweep of Nevada since the 2011-12 season. And the Mustangs’ 14 wins are their most since the state tournament team from 2016-17.

“I thought our free throws at the end were fantastic,” Allison-Rodriguez said. “Hopefully we can have more balanced scoring, but sometimes you just have to find a way, and we did that tonight.”

Tori Lindsay and Addison Steenhoek combined to score 40 of the team’s 51 points in the Heart of Iowa Athletic Conference contest. They were the only Mustangs to score any points until Lila Milani drained back-to-back 3-pointers late in the third.

PCM honored its lone senior Elle Davis after the game. It was a tough night for the Mustang bigs as Isabelle Nelson’s length gave them fits.

“(Nelson) is big and long and she bugs our big kids,” Allison-Rodriguez said. “We knew it would be tough on them and maybe a guard-heavy night. I didn’t think it would be that guard heavy though. We couldn’t get anything going inside. And that’s fine. It won’t be like that every night.”

The Mustangs and Cubs were tied at 8-all after the first. Lindsay started the game with a bucket inside the lane and ended the frame with her first of four 3-pointers.

Kyra Naeve

Two more treys in the second by Lindsay put PCM in front 14-11 and Steenhoek made 3-of-4 from the foul line in the final minute of the frame to send the hosts into halftime with a 17-15 advantage.

There were seven lead changes in the first half and four more in the third. Lindsay put her team back in front two different times with a 3 and a jumper.

The PCM sophomore finished with a game-high 23 points and added five rebounds, two assists and five steals. She was 4-of-9 from deep.

“I’ve kind of been in a little slump,” Lindsay said. “But my team and I have been working to get me out of it. They’ve been encouraging and the coaches have been encouraging, too.”

Nevada rallied to take back the lead at 27-24. That was the largest advantage for the Cubs in the game.

A drive to the basket by Steenhoek started an 11-1 run that ended the third. Lindsay finalized the quarter with a three-point play that came off an assist from Steenhoek.

In between the run were Milani’s consecutive treys and the Mustangs (14-6, 10-4 in the HOIAC) led 35-28 after three.

The advantage grew to nine following a jumper by Kyra Naeve, but the Cubs scored eight straight to get back within one.

Tori Lindsay

Steenhoek made a pair of free throws with 18.2 seconds to go in regulation that put PCM in front 39-36. She caught the ball in the backcourt to run a few more seconds off the clock.

However, Nevada’s Emilee Kelly forced overtime when she banked in a 3 with 1.5 seconds on the clock.

In overtime, PCM outscored Nevada 12-1. Lindsay started the extra session with a jumper that came off an offensive rebound by Naeve.

“Addison wasn’t at her best, but she hit some big free throws,” Allison-Rodriguez said. “And Tori and Addi don’t care who gets it, as long as we win and someone gets it. Lila had a couple of big 3s, too.”

The Cubs (9-12, 6-7) turned the ball over on a traveling violation and then missed two free throws on their next two possessions.

PCM finished the game by making 10-of-12 from the foul line in the final 1:52. Lindsay made the first two freebies and Steenhoek was 5-of-6 in the last 1:26. Milani also hit two free throws and Jorja Teeter capped the win with another free throw.

“Free throws are a really big part of any game,” Lindsay said. “The game comes down to them sometimes, they really do. We work on them every single day. I think we all stepped up tonight. We wanted to finish what we started. It felt special to win for Elle tonight.”

The Mustangs’ largest lead of the game was the 11 points they won by.

Sami Allison-Rodriguez

Five PCM players scored in the game, and the Mustangs won despite making only 28.6 percent from the floor. They turned the ball over 16 times but made seven 3s and connected on 16-of-19 from the charity stripe.

Steenhoek finished with 17 points, four rebounds, three assists and five steals. She was 10-of-12 from the foul line.

Milani scored all eight of her points in the second half and grabbed three rebounds, Teeter collected six boards and three assists and Naeve had three rebounds and two steals. Rebecca De Vries corralled four rebounds.

Allison-Rodriguez played a guard-heavy lineup down the stretch.

“I didn’t sub much because I thought we had a good crew out there, even though it was a smaller group,” Allison-Rodriguez said. “I liked the flow we had tonight. It’s good to know that I can play that lineup and we can still play well. That could serve us well in the tournament.”

Kelly led Nevada with 11 points and five rebounds, Dakota Hendricks scored 12 points and Nelson grabbed 14 rebounds and swiped four steals.

The Cubs shot 31.7 percent from the floor, made 7-of-24 from 3 and connected on 7-of-14 from the foul line. They turned the ball over 19 times.

Notes: Allison-Rodriguez said the squad is dealing with some injuries right now. Davis just returned from an injury and De Vries is playing through a shin injury. “We have pain all over,” Allison-Rodriguez said. “We want to win for each other and not for ourselves. To have Elle stick it out and be the only senior, that can be lonely for her. Her teammates had her back and they really wanted it for her tonight. I’m glad we have another home game so we can get her some more minutes on Saturday night.”

Kaden Clark
Coby DeRaad