UNION CITY, Ind. – Mississinawa Valley traveled just a few minutes over the border to take on intra-state rival Union City in high school girls basketball.
It would be no small feat as the Lady Indians boast two agile girls over 6 feet and coming in were ranked No. 9 in 1A for Indiana High School Athletic Association with a 15-2 record.
In the opening quarter Union City opened up with an 11-2 advantage behind its 6-foot 1-inch center, who had seven points.
Mikayla Stump dropped a triple to spark a Blackhawk run that was followed by a jumper from by Kylie Willis then a trey from freshman Bailey Johnson that pulled the Hawks within one 11-10 with 2:19 to go.
Kelsey Hunt hit a turnaround jumper to end the first quarter, giving the Hawks a surprising lead at 14-13.
In the second quarter the Hawks simply couldn’t slow down Union City.
The Indians’ ball movement and passing was sharp, and they utilized their size advantage with Courtney Wise getting behind the defense, diving in off the baseline and scoring eight points in the quarter and 15 in the first half.
Mississinawa simply couldn’t keep pace offensively, scoring just nine in the second quarter, and the Hawks would trail 33-23 at the half.
In the third period the Blackhawks tried to pack in a 2-3 zone to keep Union City from getting the ball down low, but Kelsey Zimmers fired in back-to-back triples from long range.
Shots weren’t falling for Mississinawa like they were in the first half, and the turnovers started to follow.
Union City widened its lead to 49-30 after the third quarter.
In the final stanza it was all Union City as the Indians went on to claim their 16th win by the score of 69-37.
Union City had four players in double figures with Courtney Wise leading the way with 21 points, Kelsie Zimmers with 15, Madeline Adams with 12 and Bailey Hartman with 12. Hartman would record a triple double with 15 rebounds and 11 steals as well.
No one for Mississinawa scored double digits. The Hawks were led by freshman Bailey Johnson with nine points. Mikayla Stump and Leslie Dirksen both chipped in seven in the loss.
“That was a pretty good basketball team we played tonight,” Mississinawa Valley coach John Hershey said.
“Fundamentally they are the best team I have seen all year, and they pass the ball extremely well,” Hershey added.
“We’ve really been working hard in practice on maintaining our mental focus, and I thought we did a pretty good job for about two quarters tonight,” Hershey said.
“When we get tired our hands start coming down. We don’t move as well, shots stop falling, and then we don’t take care of the basketball,” Hershey added.
“The last time you and I talked it was for about one quarter … but because we have been working on it we go a little longer each game, and tonight was improvement.
“The freshmen that are coming off the bench are starting to do a good job for us. We don’t have a deep bench, and we can’t just leave our starters out there the whole time.
“I’ve been using them a little here and there, holding off and holding off on bringing them up and putting them in the game because I wanted to give them as many minutes as possible on JV, so that when the time comes they would be ready to contribute at the next level.
“I think they are now more ready then they would have been if they just sat all year on the varsity bench, and you can see tonight they provided solid contributions when they were in the game,” Hershey concluded.
Mississinawa fell to 3-13 overall and will travel to Bradford to take on the Railroaders on Thursday.
Score by quarters:
MV …14…09…07…07 – 37
UC …13…20…16…20 – 69
Mikayla Stump 7, Kylie Willis 6, Olivia Murphy 2, Kelsie Hunt 5, Leslie Dirksen 7, Madison Stachler 1, Bailey Johnson 9 – Totals 4-9-7/13 – 37
Cantu 7, Wise 21, Zimmers 15, Adams 12, Hartman 12, Sigler 2
Totals 4-22-13/17 – 69