Miya Means attacks the defense and looks to pass in a 52-30 loss against Effingham at home.
By BLAKE FAITH
The Mt. Zion girls basketball team went 1-2 to finish out their last week of the regular season. Their lone win came against Sullivan in a 49-20 road loss.
Against Effingham, the Braves forced the Effingham offense to miss shots and the first score didn’t come, but a few minutes into the game. Meredith Schaefer nailed two free-throws to give Effingham a 2-0 lead.
The Braves scored on back-to-back possessions when Denver Anderson drove in for layups to make the score 4-2.
The Flaming Hearts created momentum when Schaefer made a layup and Saige Althoff stole the ball and drove in for a layup and made the free-throw after the foul call to give the Hearts a 7-4 lead. The Flaming Hearts finished the quarter ahead 9-5.
In the second widget, scaring was scarce. The Braves scored a total of five points behind an Abby Scharf three-pointer and an Anderson layup that made the score 10-9 at the half. The Braves’ defense shut-down the Flaming Hearts offense in the second quarter by using their defense to alter shots.
In the third quarter, the Flaming Heads came out of the locker room and scored 12 straIght points behind a Marrissa Allie put-back and Madison Mapes scoring eight points, including two three-pointed and a Sawyer Althoff two-point basket to give the Flaming Hearts a 21-10 lead.
“We said in the locker room, the first few minutes of the third quarter is going to dictate what happens in this game,” Head coach Steve Marvel said. “Unfortunately, we let them do the dictating, we gave up some stuff, we broke down on some rotations and gave up some easy baskets.”
The Braves started their scoring in the second half when Bracie Barnes found Scharf for a three-pointer to make the score 21-13. The Flaming Hearts ended the quarter ahead 30-19.
The Flaming Hearts picked off in the fourth quarter with Saige Althoff nailing a three-pointer to extend their lead to 33-19. The Braves countered with Anderson making a driving layup and then getting to the line the next possession as she made one of her free-throws to narrow the lead to 35-25.
The Flaming Hearts held on and won 52-30.
Against Mattoon, the Braves lost 64-39. The Braves finished the regular season with a 10-21 overall record and a 2-10 Apollo conference record.
The Braves will travel to Rochester and play Rochester in regional play this week. Earlier in the year, Rochester defeated Mt. Zion 43-22 in the Taylorville Tournament.
“They’re an excellent team without a doubt,” Coach Marvel said. Reed is an outstanding player and a tough kid. But I think if we can focus on her and take our postgame I think we’ll be in a position in the fourth quarter to be hanging in the game. We’ve improved a lot since we played them early in Taylorville. We have picked up our man-defense and we are scoring better for the most part. I think the fact that we had to play two very, very good teams to end the season is a plus heading into regional play.”