Aggies size up Mustangs
PR-F-L defeats M-M in final seconds
The Midway-Minto (M-M) Mustangs traveled to Park River on Saturday to play Park River-Fordville-Lankin (PR-F-L) after an 18 hour delay due to inclement weather last Friday. The Aggies celebrating Military Appreciation night for the girls team escaped with a 52-51 win.
PR-F-L junior Hannah Swartz made the front end of a one-and-one free throw with 2.3 seconds remaining to give the Aggies the win. Swartz scored nine points in the game.
PR-F-L was led by Brogan Novak who scored 12 points followed by Ashley Fontaine with 11. The Mustangs were led by a 23-point effort from Mackenzie Irwin and an eight-point night from Dominique Martinez.
This was the second meeting of the year for these top District 4 teams and proved to be a well-balanced intense game right down to the end.
The Aggies went on a 9-2 run to begin the game but after a basket by M-M’s Haley Hovde, it was the Aggies Swartz and the Mustangs Irwin that completed the scoring for the first quarter. Irwin scored nine, including two 3-pointers. Swartz closed out the quarter with a basket to tie the game at 13-13.
The Mustangs jumped out to a four-point lead on baskets by Martinez and Faith Maendel before the Aggies rallied for eight straight points to take a 21-17 point lead midway through the second quarter. Near the end of the quarter the Mustangs tied the game at 23 before a shot at the buzzer by Welch put the Aggies ahead at halftime 25-23.
The second half opened with the same intensity as the first half. After Morgan Porter was fouled and made a free throw, Irwin tied the game 26-26 on a 3-pointer followed shortly by a 3-point basket by Helen Schuster to put the Mustangs up 29-26. M-M held the lead until a basket by Whitney Carlson put the Aggies back on top 35-34. After exchanging baskets the Mustangs led 38-37 until another last second basket by Welch gave the Aggies the lead 39-38 to end the third quarter.
In the final quarter PR-F-L saw a 43-40 lead give way to a 45-43 deficit before the teams exchanged baskets going back and forth up to 51-51.
M-M called a timeout with 32.3 seconds remaining but upon returning to the court the Aggies forced the Mustangs into an over-and-back violation giving the Aggies the ball with 16.3 seconds remaining prompting Coach Scherr to take a timeout.
“We wanted to set up a play to get one shot with enough time left for a rebound,” said Scherr.
On the ensuing play Fontaine put up a 3-point attempt that was boarded by Swartz who was then fouled and put on the free throw line with 2.3 seconds remaining. Swartz made the first free throw giving PR-F-L a 52-51 lead. She missed the second attempt, M-M rushed to get the ball down court after the rebound but time expired before Irwin could launch a 30-foot shot for the attempt to win.
“I felt we played a terrific game against a very talented team. In the end we had a chance to get a game-winning score but we weren’t able to capitalize on that opportunity,” said Mustangs coach Scott Lloyd.
Despite the loss Lloyd is pleased with his team’s effort.
“We have a well-balanced team with each girl providing their individual strengths. Mackenzie (Irwin) came out and was comfortable from tip off. She found a rhythm and moved the ball well. She took consistently good shots and had a game high 23 points. Dominique (Martinez) also played an outstanding game for us. It was probably her best game of the season thus far. Helen Schuster has been a game changer for us as well. She can move well with the ball and she provides an offensive threat in every game,” said Lloyd. “Our district has proven that it’s going to be exciting and each game will be close. We look forward to our stretch of games the next five weeks.