By Clint Andersen
The Gordon-Rushville Lady Mustangs opened the 2012-2013 season with a win over the Hemingford Bobcats Friday night in Gordon by the score of 59-41. Both teams struggled with first-game jitters that led to lots of first half fouls and turnovers.
In a departure from last season when the Mustangs were primarily a half-court defensive team, they came out in a full-court press for nearly the entire game. The defensive pressure caused trouble for the Bobcats all night and helped keep them from finding a good offensive rhythm.
Both teams struggled to put points on the board early as the score was tied 2-2 until late in the first quarter. The high-pressure defense of the Mustangs caused trouble for Hemingford, but it also resulted in an increased number of fouls for the Mustang defenders. With 3:34 left in the opening period and the Mustangs leading 6-4, Morgan Sones was called for two quick fouls that forced her to the bench for the rest of the half. The first quarter ended with the Mustangs holding an 8-6 lead.
The fouls continued to mount for both squads throughout the second quarter as the Mustangs tenth foul put Hemingford in the double bonus with 5:16 left in the second quarter. Fortunately, the Bobcats had trouble converting free-throws. Hemingford shot 23 of their 29 free throw attempts in the second quarter, but made only ten. The Mustangs also had chances from the charity stripe, but did a slightly better job of converting, shooting 6-of-11 from the line in the second quarter.
Offensively, the Mustangs had trouble dealing with the defensive pressure of the Bobcats’ guards. Their scrappy defense made it very difficult for the Mustangs to get into their offense and work the ball inside throughout the first half. Things began to change when Hemingford’s starters began to get into foul trouble. Guard Kelsy Wood, and post player Cali Rohrbouck both picked up their third fouls within a minute of each other midway through the second quarter. The first half ended with a Hemingford holding a 22-20 lead at the break.
Things changed dramatically for the Mustangs in the second half. Mounting foul trouble for Hemingford forced them to switch to a more conservative zone defense, while the Mustangs’ superior depth tipped the balance in their favor. The Mustangs came out in the second half with an even higher level of defensive pressure and held Hemingford to only nine third quarter points. Offensively, the Mustangs found their groove behind the direction of Morgan Sones. After sitting for much of the first quarter and all of the second with foul trouble, Sones’ presence helped get the Mustang offense back on track. Under Sones’ direction, the offense erupted for 20 points in the quarter. Seven Mustangs found the hoop as they surged to a 40-31 lead at the end of the third quarter.
In the fourth quarter, superior depth and defensive pressure helped the Mustangs pull away to a comfortable 59-41 win. This was definitely a team effort as all ten players on the Mustang roster contributed valuable minutes when the game was on the line. The Mustangs were led in scoring by Morgan Sones’ 12 points. Sara Marlatt and Hali Sahr each added 9, Brittany Hoagland scored 8, Cali Mulcahy, 6, Brandi Roth, 5, Denie Jacobsen, 4, Cirsten Hinn, 3, Kylee Giles, 2, and Dani Campbell, 1.
The Lady Mustangs will be in action Friday night when they travel to undefeated Chadron before hosting Ainsworth on Saturday. Because of the wrestling meet at the Gordon gym on Saturday, both the girls and boys games will be played at the middle school gym in Rushville. The girls JV game will tip off at noon, followed by boys JV, girls varsity, and boys varsity.