For the first half of their game at Northmor Saturday afternoon, it looked like the Mount Gilead Lady Indians had a good shot at reversing their fortunes from the first contest between the two teams.
After losing their December home game with the Knights by a 66-29 margin, the Indians only trailed 24-17 at the intermission Saturday. However, they could not maintain things for four whole quarters and Northmor pulled away to take a 61-26 win that improved them to 9-6 on the season and 5-4 in the conference.
“Two things happened after halftime,” said Northmor coach Brendon Gwirtz. “We went to a 1-3-1 full court press instead of a man press and a couple of our leaders stepped up. I think we made a couple shots and saw the ball go through the hoop and we got positive energy.”
Despite holding the Indians to only field goals by Hope Hack and Selina Mulkey in the first quarter, Northmor only held a 9-4 lead after eight minutes of play, in part due to only hitting 3-of-9 free throws. Allie Tupps scored four for the Knights and Kyndall Williams added those three foul shots to get the team out to an early advantage.
Northmor would get baskets by Tupps, Chantel Cline and Keaton Mowry to increase their advantage to a 15-4 score early in the second quarter, but the Indians battled back. Jenna Shipman hit a basket, followed by a Hack free throw and a outback by Morgan Brooke to bring their team within six.
Mount Gilead would get even closer before the half, as with the score 21-13 with under two minutes remaining in the second, Hack and Brooke hit back-to-back shots to bring the Indians within four with 25 seconds before intermission.
However, the Knights would get some momentum going into the half, as Tupps drew a foul in the final five seconds. She made the first free throw and missed the second, but Northmor regained possession and Tupps scored from the field to give her team a seven-point halftime lead.
After Mulkey opened the third quarter with a basket to bring the Indians back within five, Northmor took over the game, shutting out their guests for the remainder of the period. Both Williams and Tupps came up big for the Knights in the third. Williams tallied nine points, while Tupps added four more, as Northmor surged ahead by a 43-19 margin with eight minutes to play.
Tupps opened the fourth with back-to-back shots to make the score 47-19 before the Mount Gilead got back in the scoring column on a free throw by Brooke. However, while Mulkey was able to drain a three-pointer a bit later to make the score 49-23, the Indians were unable to fight back into the game. Northmor wound up getting 10 players to score at least one point on their way to taking the 35-point win.
“Even our foreign exchange student (Franzi Lindner) got in and got three,” said Gwirtz. “The more people score, the better off we are.”
Tupps finished with 20 points to lead all scorers, while Williams added 17 points and 12 rebounds. For the Indians, Mulkey finished with 10.
With the postseason getting closer, and with it, the seeding for Central District teams, Gwirtz knows that every win his girls can muster will help them in bracket positioning.
“We’re happy to have every win,” he said. “Looking ahead, every win will help for the postseason.”