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Big third propels Ole Miss girls past Eastbrook

COUNTY BATTLE: Mississinewa’s Darah Watson defends Eastbrook’s Kylie Standfest in the first half of the Indians’ 62-38, CIC win in Gas City on Friday night.

BY ERIC HINDERLITER - ctreporter@indy.rr.com

GAS CITY -- The Mississinewa girls’ basketball team was able to take a narrow three-point lead at the half Friday night and turn it into a 24-point home victory over Eastbrook.

Riding a pressing defense and improved shooting from the first half, the Indians ended up pulling away 62-38.

“I’m proud of them,” commented Ole Miss coach Omega Tandy. “We were able to get back to our identity and doing what we do.”

Coming out of the locker room in the third quarter, the Indians blitzed the Panthers 21-8 in the quarter. Caily Bolser made her presence known with 11 points while the team hit 7-of-14 shots.

But, it was the defensive pressure that fueled the charge. Ole Miss’ full court press hassled the Panthers into nine turnovers in the quarter.

“It (the press) was tough for us tonight,” said Eastbrook coach Jeff Liddick. “We went into panic mode and they figured us out. A lot of turnovers came from this.”

Bolser proved nearly unstoppable controlling the paint. She led all scorers with a 28-point effort. She hit 11-of-17 shots including stepping back and draining a three early in the third quarter. She also picked up seven rebounds as Eastbrook valiantly attempted to control her.

As difficult as the second half was for the Panthers, the first gave Liddick plenty to like.

“We did an excellent job and executed our game plan perfectly in the first half,” explained Liddick. “We went toe-to-toe with them for 16 minutes.”

Finding themselves down 11-4, the Panthers went on a 17-6 run which gave them a 21-17 lead late in the second quarter. Kylie Standfest knocked down two threes, Sarah Foulk hit three buckets, and Josalyn Martinez scored five points during the run.

“We didn’t start the game as well as we should,” said Tandy. “We didn’t rebound and do the little things.”

Ole Miss hit just 3-of-14 shots during that stretch, but scored the final seven points of the first half.

Tandy pointed to a time out she took late in the first half and one could see the change in her squad.

“This team has the ability to fix it and do it quickly,” she praised.

The pressure applied by the Indians forced the Panthers into 28 turnovers.

Backing up Bolser’s career night was Riley McKee who scored 13 points and displayed leadership on the floor.

“I’m excited at where we are at,” said Tandy of her now 6-4 Indians. “The tough losses help us win games like this.”

Eastbrook, now 3-3, were led by Standfest’s 17 points which included five three-pointers.

“She’s put in a lot of hard work at improving her shot,” noted Liddick. “We can count on her to hit those shots.”

Martinez scored 10 while Foulk netted eight. Eastbrook returns to action Saturday afternoon at home with Muncie Burris while Ole Miss next hosts Southwood on Wednesday.