By Andy Krutsinger,
Mt. Pleasant News
The weather outside might be cold, but the Southeast Conference girls? basketball race is heating up, and with the teams almost half way done with conference play, it?s time to look at the league as it stands at winter break.
The SEC has been a three-team race so far this season with Fairfield, Mt. Pleasant and Keokuk all coming off the break with multiple wins in the conference.
The Trojans are sitting pretty with a 3-0 SEC record, especially because of the games they have won. Fairfield has wins over the other two top teams in the conference, beating both Mt. Pleasant and Keokuk on the road. The Trojans topped the Panthers 53-48 in Mt. Pleasant and ran away from the Chiefs 59-45 in Keokuk.
The Trojans are led by SEC-leading scorer Amber Nichole Buch, who is scoring just south of 20 points per game. The Trojans have used high-scoring outings from Buch and a hot-shooting outside attack to stay unscathed in conference play so far.
Mt. Pleasant gave Fairfield the closest battle in the SEC so far. Maddie Williamson (15.1 PPG) scored 16 in their five-point home loss, and Kalynn Bataey (15.6 PPG) had 15. The two Panther wings have anchored the team so far this season and have led them to both of their wins.
The biggest win so far for Mt. Pleasant in the conference was a 42-36 road win at Keokuk. The Panthers came back from a four-point fourth quarter deficit to top the Chiefs and hand them their second SEC loss.
Keokuk, one of the preseason favorites, finds themselves in a bit of a hole after losing two home games. The Chiefs will need to play flawlessly from now on if they want to earn a share of the crown.
Michaela Davis (12.7 PPG) and Keaija Lacy (11.3 PPG) have led the Chiefs so far this year. Davis led the Chiefs with 16 points and 10 steals in a 60-16 blowout win in Ft. Madison, and Lacy led the squad with 14 points in a 54-31 road win at Washington.
The Demons may be 0-2 in the conference, but they?ve shown they can hang with the top teams. Washington had a rough start against Fairfield but played the Trojans almost even in the second half of a 62-47 road loss. They struggled offensively against Keokuk but did have the game within 10 points at halftime.
Sarah Nacos has led the Demons with 13.3 points per game this season, including 17 against Fairfield.
A young Ft. Madison team has struggled to score against the top dogs in the conference. The Bloodhounds are 0-2 in SEC play so far, falling 60-16 against Keokuk and 58-27 in Mt. Pleasant.
Sarah Bernhart leads Ft. Madison with 6.8 points per game in her sophomore year. She had a nice night in Mt. Pleasant, scoring 13 points and pulling down nine rebounds in the loss.
Either Washington or Ft. Madison will get their first win on Tuesday, Jan. 2.
The Demons will host the Bloodhounds in the first SEC game of 2018.
Below are the full SEC girls? basketball standings as we head into the new year.
1. Fairfield 3-0
2. Mt. Pleasant 2-1
3. Keokuk 2-2
T-4. Washington 0-2
T-5. Ft. Madison 0-2