WINFIELD — A WACO steal and score by Molly McLaughlin at the halftime buzzer spurred Winfield-Mount Union to a 52-43 girls basketball win Tuesday in a Southeast Iowa Super Conference non-divisional game.
Instead of an 11-point W-MU lead going into the break, it was a 27-20 game.
“I really challenged them to win the first 4 minutes of the third quarter,” W-MU head coach Mitch Wachs said. “I don’t think our press was that aggressive, it was just trying to force them into making a mistake,” Wachs said. “I thought it helped get our offense going.”
The Wolves not only accepted that challenge, they bettered it. Farrah Nelson hit a bucket in the first 15 seconds and forced a WACO turnover before 30 seconds had elapsed. The press applied to WACO resulted in Nelson scoring eight more points.
“We had some good ball movement, so I got some good passes and that’s why it happened,” Nelson said of her scoring skien. She finished with 14 points, seven rebounds and four steals. “We were good in transition and that helped us put a run on. We have five people that can go in and five people can go out and it’s no drop off so we stay fresh and I think that’s a big advantage for us.”
When Jenna Buffington, who had four assists, got one of her six rebounds and put it back in for two of her six points, it was a 12-0 run.
“We had some spells where we were not hustling, not rebounding and that caused us some problems,” WACO’s first year coach Lisa Graber said. “That girl (Nelson) was just on a roll because we switched defenses and she still was scoring.”
McLaughlin’s 3-pointer with 2:36 remaining in the third was the first WACO points but Jami Wilkerson got one of her five steals and scored two of her seven points for an 18-point lead. She also handed out five assists. WACO’s Aubri Garnsey scored the final four points and it was a 41-27 lead for W-MU starting the fourth quarter.
A Wilkerson bucket, a Bradie Buffington block, a sweet Melina Oepping assist, back-to-back Keely Malone scores and a Keetyn Townsley field goal gave the Wolves an 8-0 run and it was 49-27 when Graber called timeout with 4:50 left.
Katie Liechty’s three rebound putbacks were six points in the Warriors’ 16-3 run that closed the game. The last three were Garnsey’s half-court heave at the buzzer. She finishedf with nine. Ellah Kissell had 12, Morgan Graber and Grace Coble had four each.
Kyndal Townsley had six rebounds, three steals and scored all 12 of her points for W-MU in the first half. Jobey Malone had six rebounds.