UNION CITY – It was a tale of two teams going in different directions when Newton came to town to take on Mississinawa Valley.
The Indians were in preparation mode for a postseason run while the Hawks were celebrating senior night and playing their last regular season game of the year.
It was a game Newton totally dominated in winning 61-29 … but also special for two seniors – Leslie Dirksen from Mississinawa Valley and Maddie Mollette for Newton.
Dirksen was playing on the the home floor for the last time as the lone senior representative for the Blackhawks. She scored seven points and pulled down seven rebounds for Mississinawa in a solid showing in front of family and friends.
Newton also had one senior Maddie Mollette, and it would be special night for her in another way.
Two games ago Mollette became Newton’s all-time girls scoring leader with 951 points and coming into the game needed 22 to reach the 1,000-point plateau for her career.
Mollette sparked a strong first half performance with 18 points as the Indians jumped all over the Blackhawks, leading 41-5 at the half.
“We are really trying to focus on getting ready for the tournament. We’ve been stressing certain things that we want to do and thought we could hurt them with pressure that we can put on in different ways, and it helped us to a great start,” Newton coach Neil Hans said.
Early in the third quarter Mollette scored a bucket on a drive at the rim to reach 20 and needed just one more fielder to reach the milestone.
When left open behind the arch at the 3:31 mark in the game Mollette, who is a slasher and likes to finish at the rim, surprised everyone as she rose up and let go a trey that was all net, scoring her 1,000th and 1,001st points in her career.
Immediately after the shot there was a brief presentation of the game ball from Mississinawa Athletic Director Dusty Yingst to Mollette, and a large Newton fan base held up signs to signify the momentous occasion.
“She was grinning from ear to ear,” Hans said. “I looked at her and said … and on a three.
“The irony is we don’t shoot many threes. That’s not in our game. We play mainly to get the ball to the basket and get fouled,” Hans added.
“It’s not like she hasn’t made them before. She made one last year at Covington to win a game … but it’s not in our plan on how we play as a team.”
“That was probably one of the craziest things ever,” Mollette said on reaching and surpassing a 1,000 points on a 3-point shot. “I’ve only made about four of them in my entire high school career. Ironically two of my most memorable shots have come from behind the arch – tonight and one last year at Covington to win the game.
“It’s probably one of the best feelings I’ve ever experienced in sports,” Mollette said on surpassing the 1,000-point mark in her career.
Mollette would enjoy the rest of the game as a spectator from the bench cheering on her team as they continued to prepare for the tournament.
Mississinawa found some offense in the second half behind 10 points from Mikayla Stump, seven from Dirksen and six from Kelsie Hunt.
The Hawks won the fourth quarter by the score of 12-3 but fell short on the scoreboard 61-29.
There was very little Mississinawa coach John Hershey had to say after the game, but he wanted to acknowledge his senior post player.
“Leslie is a hard worker and has been a tremendous leader for us this year, and it was an honor to coach her,” Hershey said.
Mississinawa fell to 4-18 overall and 2-10 in the Cross County Conference. The Hawks’ next game will be at 6 p.m. Feb.17 at Sidney High School where they will play the winner of the Fort Loramie/Riverside game.
Newton will be back in action on Saturday when the Indians host Graham for senior day.
Score by quarters:
MV … 05 … 00 … 12 … 12 – 29
NE … 18 … 23 … 17 … 03 – 61
Mississinawa Valley (4-18, 2-10)
Mikayla Stump 10, Kylie Willis 3, Olivia Murphy 3, Kelsie Hunt 6, Leslie Dirksen 7 – Totals 4-6-5/9 – 29
Newton (14-7, 9-3)
Tatum McBride 6, Maddie Mollette 23, Macy Flanary 8, Elizabeth Carroll 10, Britney Oburn 4, Aliya Stine 6, Mallory Dunlevy 4 – Totals 1-20-18/22 – 61
MV – 4 (Stump 2, Murphy 1, Willis 1)
NE – 1 (Mollette 1)