NEWTON — PCM’s Mustang girls passed a test of character in their 2017-18 opening basketball game. The Mustangs claimed a 55-48 win over host Newton on Nov. 17 in the NHS Girls Varsity Basketball Holiday Tournament.
“When you get out-rebounded and give up the lead late, sometimes teams fold but we didn’t. It says a lot about the character of our young team,” PCM head coach Jeff Lindsay said. “We played calm at the beginning of the game, got a little erratic and rushed the issue then at the end we calmed ourselves down.”
PCM led most of the game, jumping out to a 5-0 lead. Newton gained the lead twice and both times it was junior Camryn Wignall who put the Mustangs back on top. The first time came in the second period after the Cardinals had an 8-0 run led by three baskets inside by senior Ali Bestell.
Newton took a 16-14 lead at the 5:12 mark. Wignall fired in a 3-pointer to give the Mustangs the lead again then sophomore Regan Freland drilled a trey to push the lead to 20-16 with 3:57 left in the second period.
The Cardinals didn’t back down with back-to-back baskets by junior Rachel Rhoads and senior Addy Blom. Freland and Newton junior Peyton Maher traded baskets. The Mustangs scored four points off two Newton turnovers.
By halftime, PCM was sitting on a 31-24 advantage. Freland powered the Mustang offense with 19 points in the first half but didn’t score until there were 2.9 seconds remaining in the game for a game-hight 21 points.
“We addressed rebounding at halftime and continued to stress it in the second half. We gave up too many second and third shots,” Lindsay said.
The Mustangs had 18 rebounds with 14 coming off the defensive glass. The Cardinals collected 43 rebounds.
PCM carried a 42-36 lead into the fourth quarter. Newton erased the deficit on an 11-4 surge.
Bestell had four points in the run then seniors Marcelina Marvelli and Randi Walters had baskets for the Cardinals to make it 45-44 with 2:57 left to play.
PCM junior Morgan Uhlenhopp went 1-of-4 at the free-throw line to make it a two-point Mustang lead.
Marvelli rang up a 3-pointer to give Newton a 47-46 lead. Just like in the second quarter, Newton had opportunities to extend its lead but misfired.
“Coach (Lindsay) just wanted us to get down there and play loose. I saw the opportunity to take the shot. It felt good. I just wanted my team to get the lead back,” Wignall said of her jump shot at the 1:41 mark to give the lead to PCM for good.
The Cardinals missed a shot on its next possession, blocked a PCM shot then turned it over. Newton had 20 turnovers in the game.
PCM was up 50-47 when Newton came away from four attempts at the free-throw line with just one point. Uhlenhopp sealed the Mustang win with a 3-point play with 24 seconds left.
Lindsay said it was a good win for the Mustangs because of all the new players on the floor for them. He said a lot of the girls who played in the season opener did not have much varsity playing time last year.
Along with Freland’s 21 points, PCM got seven points each from Wignall and freshman Lilli Baird. The Mustangs went 19-of-53 from the field for 36 percent. They were 7-of-21 from 3-point range and went 10-of-17 at the free-throw line.
“We moved the ball really well,” Wignall said. “We took good shots and played pretty well for the first game. Our defense was OK.”
Freland, who had three 3-pointers, also dished six assists.
Uhlenhopp grabbed five rebounds and Wignall had four rebounds. Junior Avery Stock collected two steals.
Bestell finished with 14 points and nine rebounds for Newton. Blom added 10 points and five rebounds.
The Mustangs (1-0) traveled to play Knoxville in a non-conference game on Nov. 21. Lindsay said it would be a challenging road game for the Mustangs.
“We will try to improve our defense, which is a staple of our teams. It’s about effort. If you put effort in on the defensive end, good things will happen,” Lindsay said.
Next up for PCM is its Heart of Iowa Conference opener at home against Saydel on Dec. 1.
PCM 14-17-11-13 — 55
Newton 8-16-12-12 — 48
PCM (FG/3-pt-FT-F-TP): Wignall 3/1-0-1-7, Cowman 1-0-3-2, Stock 2/1-0-1-5, Baird 2/2-1-3-7, Hjortshoj 2-0-5-4, Foster 2-0-1-4, Freland 6/3-6-4-21, Uhlenhopp 1-3-2-5, Bussan 0-0-1-0. TOTALS: 12/7-10-21-55.
Newton (FG/3-pt-FT-F-TP): Forsyth 1-0-1-4, Walters 2/1-2-5, Marvelli 1/1-0-4, Rhoads 2-1-1-5, Maher 1-0-3-2, Bestell 6-2-5-14, Blom 4-2-1-10. TOTALS: 17/2-8-22-48.