MAYFIELD – The Mayfield Lady Panthers built an early 15-point lead after the first quarter of Wednesday’s Western Athletic Conference North game, but Fort Plain used the other three to recover and eventually pull out a victory.
“We knew we could do it, said Abby Boyer, who scored a game-high 19 points, most of it in the fourth quarter. “We just had to pick it up. We’ve all been sick and we didn’t have Jenna Barhydt in our last game and we were all sort of down. We just had to pick it up and run the ball.”
The Lady Hilltoppers, who were coming off illness and their first loss of the season Monday night against Middleburgh, finally caught up with the Lady Panthers in the fourth quarter, after closing the gap to one, 26-25, at the end of the third quarter.
That’s when Boyer, who sat out most of the second quarter with foul trouble, took over the game.
After Mayfield’s Alex Sheldon, who led the Lady Panthers with 11 points scored on a putback to give them a three-point lead, Boyer converted a three-point play to tie the game at 28-28.
Then after grabbing a rebound on the other end of the floor, she executed a spin move in the paint for another basket, giving the Lady Hilltoppers a 30-28 lead.
It was Fort Plain’s first lead of the game.
“I’ve never been a part of a game where a visiting team has been down by that much and come back and won a game,” Fort Plain coach Phil Karker said. “They were so well prepared for us and they jumped out and they played really, really well.”
Boyer continued to assert herself by hitting a pair of free throws before Allehah VanLoan hit a jumper.
After Sheldon stopped Fort Plain’s run with a layup, VanLoan drove the baseline for a bucket and Boyer converted a three-point play, a layup and three more foul shots to finish the quarter with 15 points.
“I just felt like I couldn’t miss,” Boyer said. “It’s hard to pick yourself up from missing over and over again, but once you make one, you realize you can make them so you just have to keep shooting.”
The Lady Panthers got their last points of the game – a jumper by Kylie Manoogian – to cut the score to 42-32 with 2:12 remaining.
But the Lady Panthers (3-7 overall, 2-5 WAC North) were getting their shots. They just couldn’t get them to go in.
“I feel like we were still getting the looks that we wanted to on offense,” Mayfield coach Brian Moore said. “They just weren’t falling. We weren’t getting our feet underneath and we were rushing the shots a little bit. Their defensive pressure definitely picked up. Give them a lot of credit.”
Mayfield had its defensive pressure going in the first quarter, but couldn’t sustain it. The Lady Panthers forced Fort Plain (10-1 overall, 7-0 WAC North) into 10 turnovers as they took a 16-1 lead after the first quarter.
“We were getting good rotations on our defense,” Moore said. “We were highly active with our press. Our legs were a little bit tired. We had a little bit of a short bench today, so our subs weren’t there. We just didn’t have the energy to maintain it in the second quarter.”
The press started faltering in the second quarter as Fort Plain outscored the Lady Panthers 11-6 in the second quarter to cut the lead to 10 points, 22-12, at halftime. Haley Kilmartin led the way in the third quarter, scoring eight of her 14 points in the third quarter, helping the Lady Hilltoppers cut Mayfield’s lead to 26-25 after three quarters.
“We just buckled down a little bit on defense,” Karker said. “We didn’t make really any adjustments. They focused a little bit more on what they were supposed to do, and did it.”
Fort Plain 47, Mayfield 32
Fort Plain1 11 13 22 – 47
Mayfield16 6 4 6 – 32
Boyer 5-8-19, Barhydt 1-0-2, Kilmartin 4-6-14, Florian 2-0-4, Trembley 1-0-2, VanLoan 3-0-6. Totals: 16-14-47.
J. Little 3-0-6. N. Little 3-1-7, Sheldon 5-1-11, Manoogian 2-0-4, Meca 1-0-2, Horney 1-0-2. Totals: 15-2-32.
3-point goals: Fort Plain 1 (Boyer); Mayfield – none.