GUYS MILLS — It may have taken a while for the Maplewood girls basketball team to find its rhythm offensively on Thursday night against the Saegertown Panthers, but once the Tigers started connecting from long range, there was no slowing them down.
Izzy Eimer and Jordan Roser each made five 3-pointers on their way to netting 17 and 15 points, respectively, as the Tigers mangled the Panthers, 59-37, in Region 2 action at The Woodshed. Sadie Thomas also finished with a double-double of 11 points and 10 rebounds for Maplewood (3-1 overall, 2-0 Region 2)
Saegertown (1-1 overall, 1-1 Region 2) was paced by Kaylee Mulligan’s 12 points, as the senior forward earned eight of those in the third quarter. Mollie Pryzbrowski added seven points.
In the first quarter of a rematch of last year’s District 10 Class 2A Semifinal, neither team found its rhythm, as the Tigers and Panthers combined to turn the ball over 11 times. Maplewood struggled to gain any offensive traction against Saegertown’s 2-3 zone, but used a 3-pointer from both Eimer and Roser to stay afloat.
“We were hesitant against it at first,” Maplewood coach Kyle Krepps said. “Yesterday, we put seven girls from our JV team out there to emulate it. We had great ball movement, we were attacking and hitting the gaps. At the start of the game, we didn’t seem to be doing that. There was no spark. Then, we finally woke up a little bit.”
The Tigers held a slim 9-7 lead after the first quarter thanks to its aggressive defense game plan. Maplewood junior guard Megan Mangus had the defensive assignment of slowing down Pryzbrowski, who handled the point duties for Saegertown, in an effort to stop the Panthers offense before they even had the opportunity to get into any set plays. Krepps was pleased with her defensive effort throughout the contest.
“We put Megan on (the opposing team’s) ball-handler every game because we want to stir things up,” Krepps said. “(Mangus) held Mollie down, which was key. We had (Pryzbrowski) a little bit frustrated in the first half, and if you don’t have your point guard working, the offense doesn’t flow.”
Maplewood started to hit from long range in the second quarter, and outscored Saegertown 22-5 in the period to take a commanding 31-12 advantage into the locker room at the break. The Tigers connected on five triples as a team in the canto, with Daphne Atkins, Eimer, Cassidy Mangus and Roser accounting for those contributions. At times, the Tigers went for deeper shot attempts then most teams would likely take, but Krepps was comfortable with his team taking those shots.
“The thing with us is that we can shoot it a little deeper, and (the opposing defense) has to extend a little bit,” Krepps said. “Jordan and Izzy have the green light from 27 feet in. Especially when you have the adrenaline of the game going on, that’s not out of their range. You don’t want to make a habit of it, but it is makable.”
With a 19-point lead at the start of the third quarter, Maplewood continued to put up points at a pace that Saegertown couldn’t match. The Tigers extended their lead to 48-22 by the fourth quarter and cruised to the victory.
On the boards, Thomas and Liliane Moorhead each hauled in 10 caroms as Maplewood out-rebounded Saegertown by a slim 47-42 margin. Krepps was pleased with the efforts of his two forwards.
“They both have been great on the boards,” Krepps said. “Rebounding was a concern at the beginning of the year. That’s why Liliane earned a (starting) spot because she’s been rebounding. She wasn’t really strong offensively tonight, but we don’t need her to be. We just need her to get the boards. They both did their jobs.”
Maplewood will look to extend its winning streak to four games on Monday when the Tigers travel to Youngsville, at 7 p.m., for a Region 2 contest.