New London, IA- Only two days into the new year and high school basketball is back on the hardwood as Mt. Pleasant made the trip over to New London for a non-conference showdown. The result: a Panthers sweep of the Tigers with the girls winning 47-32 and the boys breezing past New London 87-42.
The girls’ game started off how you would expect after a prolonged break with the score after a quarter leaning Mt. Pleasant’s way 9 to 5. After a quick start to the second quarter for the Panthers, Olivia Hester hit a couple of threes cutting the lead down to one 13 to 12.
However, Kynlee White and Hailey Parrott put New London in a straitjacket and had Mt. Pleasant moving in transition with tough defense as the Panthers scored the last ten points of the first half to take a 23 to 13 lead at half. Head coach Curt Watson is hoping to continue this trap defense into the second half of the season,
“We’ve been working on it in practice and stuff, and we just felt like tonight was the night to try and do it…”
The tenacious defense of Mt. Pleasant resulted in 21 steals as Parrott led the team with seven steals on the night followed by White with five.
Nevertheless, Mt. Pleasant really picked up the pace on offense in the second half as the Panthers scored 15 fourth quarter points to seal the 47-32 win. Abby Carthey led the team with 19 points on the night, but most of the team got involved in the scoring. An aspect of the game Watson wanted to focus on,
“I thought we did a much better job of being an offensive threat. It was kind of one of our goals going into the second part of the year. Everybody’s got to be an offensive threat…and that’s what we got to have game in/game out for them and I thought overall we did a really good job of that tonight.”
The Panthers improved to 2-9 on the season, while the Tigers fell to 1-9.
Mt. Pleasant points: Abby Carthey 19, Kynlee White 10, Hailey Parrott 9, Paityn Ensminger 4, Juliana Burns 3, Alexa Fuller 2
New London points: Olivia Hester 11, Mylee Miller 8 and five blocks, Morgan Jones 7, Sophie Malott 3, Megan Lee 2, Shay Wilka 1
In the boys’ game, Mt. Pleasant could not miss and for New London there was a lid on the rim for game especially in the first quarter.
The Panthers bounded out to a 20 to 2 lead at the end of the first quarter and a 47 to 18 lead at halftime thanks to a 20-point showing from Payton Hagans in the first two quarters.
“We came out and set the tone early and that’s important when you’re on the road,” said head coach Eric Rawson. “It was nice to open up the 2024 half of the season with a lot of action.”
That action included seven players scoring at least four points and four players finishing in double digits with Hagans concluding the night with 25 points and three steals.
Brendan Richey found his groove in the second half as nailed three triples to finish with a team-high 13 points. Memphis Watson collected three offensive rebounds and two steals to go along with his four points.
The Panthers have now won their past five contests and sit at 6-3 on the season, while New London falls to 2-7.
Mt. Pleasant will face off against conference foe Fairfield on Friday, January 5th, with the girls leading off the night at 6 pm at home. KILJ 105.5 FM, kilj.com, will be on the call with the pregame show at 5:45 pm. Head coach Eric Rawson put it simply when discussing the upcoming matchup with the Trojans,
“I expect it to be a dog fight and we’ll be ready.”
New London will hit the road to take on Burlington Notre Dame on Friday with the girls scheduled to play at 6 pm with the boys to follow.
Mt. Pleasant points: Payton Hagans 25, Christian Stacy 17, Nate Stroud and Avin Truong 10, Ian Reid 8, Payson Coleman 7, Noah Lange 6, Kellen Kohorst 4
New London points: Brendan Richey 13, Brigham Porter 10, London Franklin 8, Memphis Watson and Carter Benjamin 4