MONROE — Part of the gameplan for the PCM girls’ basketball team in the fourth quarter of its game against Saydel was to attack the two Eagle players who had four fouls.
One of those players was Katie Schmidt, who scored a game-high 21 points through the first three quarters of the game.
Trailing by seven, Schmidt drove the ball to the bucket early in the fourth quarter, but a collision with PCM junior Sloan Hjortshoj resulted in an offensive foul and a fifth personal for the game.
Schmidt went to the bench for good with 6:37 to go in the game, and PCM took advantage with a big fourth quarter during a 56-42 win during Heart of Iowa Conference play on Dec. 1.
“It was big. We talked about that. We wanted to attack the two girls with four fouls,” PCM coach Jeff Lindsay said. “It turned out to be the other end of the court. Sloan did a nice job stepping in and taking the charge. We did a nice job of rotating there. It was a big moment in the game.”
PCM turned a seven-point lead into a 14-point win with a 13-5 advantage in the fourth. Sophomore Regan Freland was held in check for most of the game, but her 10 points in the final period put the finishing touches on the Mustangs’ first conference win of the season.
Freland finished with a game-high 17 points, but freshman Lilli Baird added a career-high 16 points and the Mustangs used a big second quarter to gain a double-digit lead at halftime.
“I thought we shored things up defensively after the first quarter,” Lindsay said. “Once we got everyone on the same page, things got shut down real quick.”
Baird, making her first career start, had the hot hand early. She kept the Mustangs in the game while Freland was working her way through a defense geared toward shutting her down.
A Baird 3-pointer tied the game at 6-all, and her jumper made it 10-8 with 2:52 to play in the quarter. PCM (2-2 overall, 1-0 in HOIC play) never trailed again, and Baird scored five more points in the frame to give her team an 18-16 lead after 8 minutes.
Baird opened the second quarter with another trey, and junior Morgan Uhlenhopp scored on back-to-back possessions to push PCM’s lead to seven.
Junior Camryn Wignall then buried two triples to extend the advantage to 11, and the Mustangs led by 12 at halftime. Wignall finished with nine points, four assists and two steals in the win.
“Camryn hit some big 3-pointers for us,” Lindsay said.
Freland had only four points at halftime but buried a 3-pointer on the first possession of the second half.
Schmidt answered with a trey of her own, and Saydel rallied to get to within six after three quarters.
The Eagles hit three 3-pointers in the quarter and stayed close because of second-chance opportunities. Saydel out-rebounded the Mustangs 41-37, and PCM turned it over 14 times.
“We have got to have a desire to want to rebound. We need to put ourselves in better positions,” Lindsay said.
“We are still in this mode where we have to fastbreak all the time. We aren’t that kind of team. That is not what this team is about. We will run when we can, but we don’t have the type of ability right now to be able to just get out and run the open floor constantly.”
PCM turned the close game into a double-digit win by scoring 11 of the first 14 points of the fourth quarter.
After Schmidt fouled out, Freland put in nine consecutive points to go up 54-40. The Eagles wouldn’t get any closer.
Freland finished with 17 points, five rebounds, five steals, three assists and two steals.
Schmidt led all scorers with 21 points to lead Saydel (1-2, 0-1). She was the only Eagle player in double figures.
While rebounding was an issue for the Mustangs as a team, Uhlenhopp did grab 11 boards and added four assists and two steals. Hjortshoj added six points, six rebounds and three steals.
Pella Christian 61, PCM 50
MONROE — With the game appearing to get away from PCM on Dec. 5, Lindsay took a timeout with five minutes to go.
His team was down 17 points. But he still wanted to make sure the Mustangs could use the time remaining in the game to help them get better for the rest of the season.
“We wanted to use the last five minutes as a springboard moving ahead,” Lindsay said. “I really thought the defense was great. We did a tremendous job, moved our feet and communicated much better. I hope we can move forward doing that.”
The Mustangs won the final five minutes, but Pella Christian won the game 61-50 to improve to 4-1 on the season.
PCM had an early lead in the game on a basket by Uhlenhopp and Freland’s drive to the basket kept the game close at 8-6.
Pella Christian then went on a 9-0 run, triggering an early timeout from Lindsay.
“We needed to slow down. Every time we would get into a groove and get back into the game, we started to amp it up too much,” Lindsay said. “Right now, we are not that type of team. When the opportunity is there we can be, but we can’t force feed the issue.”
Turnovers were the difference in the game. Every time the Mustangs got close, they couldn’t get over the hump because of a bad pass or bad decision.
PCM overcame the early 17-6 deficit to get within 19-14 after one quarter. Freland scored five in a row and then Wignall buried a 3-pointer at the buzzer to get her team within five.
Baird opened the second quarter with a trey and then Freland tied the game with a steal on defense and layup at the other end. Pella Christian went back up five with a mini run, but Freland and Uhlenhopp scored baskets inside to stay close.
A pair of free throws by Hjortshoj got PCM within one. but Pella Christian scored nine of the final 12 points of the quarter and led by seven at halftime.
“To claw all the way back and get the thing tied, I can’t say enough about the effort the girls gave,” Lindsay said.
Pella Christian made eight 3-pointers in the game. Five of those came in the first quarter and seven were made in the first half.
“It was an issue,” Lindsay said. “It came down to how positioned ourselves in the zone. We weren’t positioning ourselves very well. We weren’t reacting quick enough. When we went to man, I thought we did OK and then we turned our bodies different ways and weren’t being very efficient.”
The Mustangs stayed closed in the third until turnovers on three straight possessions led to easy buckets at the other end of the floor for the Eagles. Those buckets made it an 11-point hole for PCM.
Baird nailed another 3-pointer and Uhlenhopp scored inside to close to within six, but two more turnovers extended the Eagles’ lead back to 11.
“We just turned it over too much because we tried to fly the thing down the floor,” Lindsay said. “We weren’t making the best choices and then put ourselves in spots that led to turnovers.”
Pella Christian led by 12 after three quarters, and the lead grew to 17 early in the fourth. Freland made 3-of-4 from the line and Baird connected on her third 3-pointer to narrow the gap to 11, and that was the final margin.
Freland scored 16 of her game-high 21 points in the first half, and she also had six steals. Baird added 10 points, three rebounds and three steals and Wignall put in eight points, dished out four assists and finished with three steals for the Mustangs.
Uhlenhopp collected seven points and a team-high eight rebounds.
Pella Christian got 18 points and four 3-pointers from Kaley Wilson, while Isabella Baugh had 12 points and Morgan Fopma put in 11 points.