MT. PLEASANT — It looked promising early on for the Washington girls’ basketball team in their Southeast Conference battle in Mt. Pleasant Friday night, but a key injury and a cold second half led to a 48-40 loss.
Both teams struggled to score early on. Washington’s press made it hard on Mt. Pleasant to get the ball up the court, but the Demons had trouble converting on their end as well. Four different Washington players scored in the first quarter to give the Demons an 8-6 lead after eight minutes.
The two teams traded blows in the second quarter. Isabel Ashton scored five points for Mt. Pleasant and Isabel Bailey scored five for Washington. Kenzie Duwa had the biggest shot of the half, however, a banked-in 3-pointer to stretch the Demons’ lead to 23-18 at the half.
A midgame injury to Washington’s leading rebounder Addison Six opened up the inside for Mt. Pleasant, and Sadie Carrasco took full advantage with nine points in the third quarter. Her performance inside helped Mt. Pleasant take the lead, and the Panthers held a 33-30 advantage after three quarters.
“Defensively, (Six) does a good job of just clogging things up and communicating to our other players,” said Washington coach Shannon Rugg. “We missed that, but we (also) didn’t score the ball very well. We’ve got to find different ways to score the ball.”
The Panthers didn’t let up in the fourth quarter. Maddie Williamson put up five points in the closing eight minutes, and the Panthers pulled away, despite six fourth-quarter points from Washington leading scorer Isabel Bailey.
“This is probably the first time all year where we’ve really played four quarters,” Mt. Pleasant head coach Curt Watson said after the win. “We paid attention to detail and got after it in our zone, and did a really good job on it tonight.”
Carrasco ended the game with 15 points to lead all scorers. It was her second-straight game with 15 points, and also the Panthers’ second-straight SEC win.
“Sadie did a really good job,” Watson said about his senior post. “She has put two back-to-back games together really well. But if you look at our scoring, we were really balanced.”
Williamson finished with 14 points for Mt. Pleasant. Isabel Ashton had 11. Lydia Stewart scored four, all in the fourth quarter. Sydni Coleman scored three, and Karsyn Lamm had one.
Washington was led by Bailey, who finished with 13. Olivia Pacha scored 12. Wilson had six. Duwa and Halle Leyden scored three apiece. Phelan Hostetler had two, and Allison Hippen finished with one.
Mt. Pleasant moved to 2-8 overall and 2-2 in the SEC with the win. It will travel to Holy Trinity tonight for a nonconference game. Washington fell to 5-5 overall and 1-3 in the conference. They also will play tonight, at Cedar Rapids Washington.