UNION CITY – The Lady Blackhawks jumped on visiting Tri-County North 6-0 on two quick treys by Mikayla Stump, and the Panthers were playing from behind the rest of the night.
Tri-County North was able to match Stump’s 3-pointers with two of its own in the opening quarter … but it would be the Panthers’ only long-range buckets of the night, and they trailed Mississinawa Valley 11-6.
The second quarter belonged to Kelsie Hunt, who was doing serious damage inside as she scored eight points. Leslie Dirksen worked inside for four points, and Kylie Willis tossed in a triple to give the Hawks a 28-12 halftime advantage.
“She’s our workhorse and our board getter. She cleans the glass at both ends,” MV girls basketball coach John Hershey said on the play of Kelsie Hunt.
Kelsie Hunt went on to score 21 points and grabbed 16 rebounds to lead both teams.
The Hawks defensive pressure in the third quarter resulted in some open floor transition baskets as reserve players Bailey Johnson (five points) and Olivia Murphy (four points) took advantage as the Hawks went up 41-16 to end the third quarter.
In the final stanza Tri-County North’s Cassi Stinson caught fire, scoring nine points, and she would end the game with 15 to lead the Panthers … but it wasn’t enough to catch the Hawks who went on to claim the Cross County Conference win by the score of 51-31.
“Finally, the last two weeks of practice have been real good. When you put in a new system it takes time, and I was hoping it would click before the end of the year … but tonight we made a big turn,” a pleased Hershey said.
“If you look at the last game we played verses tonight, it’s like night and day. We spent a lot of time and emphasis on defense over the last two weeks. We have had some trouble putting the ball in the hole, so we can’t win games without playing better defense,” Hershey added.
“The big turn I alluded to earlier is up here,” Hersey said while pointing to his head. “The girls are starting to get some basketball sense and are understanding the game a little better.”
Stump showed just that when she took to charges in the game, and girls were getting in the right spots defensively both in the full court press and in half court defense.
Offensively the girls were getting the ball up-court by looking up instead of at the floor with their heads down and the ball movement was better in the half-court.
“When you can get them to start doing those things it gets me excited for them, and I can’t wait to get back on the court for the next game,” Hershey concluded.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Mississinawa……..11…17…13…10 – 51
Tri-County North…06…06…08…11 – 31
Mississinawa Valley (2-9, 1-6)
Mikayla Stump 6 Kylie Willis 5, Olivia Murphy 6, Kelsie Hunt 21, Leslie Dirksen 6, Madison Stachler 1, Sidnie Hunt 1, Bailey Johnson 6 – Totals 3-16-10/27 – 51
Tri-County North (1-10, 0-5)
Sarah Harris 5, Cassi Stinson 15, Preston Lipinski 4, Riley Cruse 5, Tiarra Alford 2 – Totals 2-10-5/11 – 31
MV 3 (Stump 2, Willis 1)
TCN 2 (Harris 1, Cruse 1)