Abby Hardie’s turnaround jumper with two seconds left lifted East Mills to a 43-42 victory over Essex on Friday.
“The girls played their hearts out and definitely deserved this win,” said East Mills coach Jeff Laughlin. “We had a tough loss earlier this season to Underwood, and we have lost a couple of heartbreakers to Essex the past couple of years, so it felt great to be on the right end of it this time.”
East Mills (3-4 overall, 3-2 in the Corner Conference) trailed by a point with 11 seconds remaining. Brianna Weak rebounded a Trojanette missed free-throw on the defensive end and outlet the ball to Joni Laughlin who pushed the ball up the court. Joni missed on her potentially game-winning three-point attempt, but got her own rebound out top where she found Hardie on the low block. The senior forward didn’t hesitate and her jumper sank as time expired.
“It was a crazy finish, but we found a way to win and that is all that matters,” Laughlin said. “Hopefully, we can build off of this and gain confidence in these type of games as the season goes on.
The Wolverines limited Essex to 17-of-59 (28.8 percent) shooting from the field and held a 39-25 rebounding edge.
“Defensively, we were able to force contested shots, and Devin (Laughlin) was able to come up with several steals as well. Our defensive rebounding was much better than it has been, and that was huge for us to limit them to only one shot most of the time.”
Brianna Weak led a balanced scoring attack with 12 points. Devin Laughlin chipped in 11, Joni Laughlin nine and Hardie seven.
“We were able to get contributions from all of our post players, especially Brianna Weak, and that really helped get us going early,” Laughlin said. “We didn’t have a great shooting night, but the girls hung in there and battled all night. That’s what I love about this team, they never quit, and they always play extremely hard for 32 minutes.”
After sluggish first quarter that saw the Fremont-Mills girls take a 12-11 lead, the Knights rattled off 17 of the next 19 points to take control in a 52-26 victory over Sidney on Thursday.
“The first quarter was back and forth,” said Fremont-Mills coach Rod Williams. “The second quarter we pretty much took over. I think our transition game wore on them and we continued to score in transition. The first quarter we were getting the shots, they just didn’t fall.”
The Knights (3-1) held the Cowgirls to 19.2 percent shooting (10-of-52) from the field in the win.
Macy Williams scored 19 points and dished out six assists to lead Fremont Mills. Andrea McClary added 19 rebounds and to go with her 10 points.
McKenzie Hulsing led Sidney with 12 points.
East Mills 66,
Clarinda Academy 13
The East Mils Mills girls ran out to a 44-2 halftime lead en route to a 66-13 victory over Clarinda Academy Thursday.
“We did a much better job of offensive rebounding and getting second chance points, now we will see if this is something that we are able to continue to do on a more consistent basis,” said East Mills coach Jeff Laughlin. “Defensively, we did a nice job of not allowing them any open looks, and we were able to force quite a few turnovers.”
The Wolverines shot 26-of-60 from the field (43.3 percent) and 11-of-17 from the free throw line (64.7 percent) and held a 41-26 rebounding edge. East Mills also grabbed 22 steals.
“We shot the ball fairly well from the field and the free-throw line, and looked more aggressive on the offensive end,” Laughlin said. “It was nice that everyone was able to play about half the game, and some girls were able to get their first extensive varsity minutes.”
Eleven different Wolverines scored in the game. Devin Laughlin led the way with 15 points. Joni Laughlin added 10 and Zena Courtier and Jessie Doyle chipped in seven each.
East Mills 25
TABOR - Taryn Manning, Andrew McClary and Macy Williams combined for 51 points as Fremont-Mills defeated rival East Mills 57-25 in Corner Conference girls basketball last Tuesday in the Lied Gymnasium.
The Knights (2-1) opened the game on a 14-0 run and led 18-2 after a quarter. The Wolverines (1-4) didn’t crack double figures until late in the first half.
“I don’t think the next time we meet them it will be this big a deficit,” said Fremont-Mills coach Rod Williams after the game. “I really thought we clicked tonight. This is what I’ve seen in practice at times. Until we get that all the time, we’re not going to be as good as we think we can be.”
After leading 30-17 at the half, the Knights scored the first six points of the second half as part of a 25-5 run over the next quarter and a half to swell the lead to 55-22 on Haylee Chambers’ short jumper with 2:18 to go.
Williams prefers man-to-man defense but thought the zone would be effective against the Wolverines’ penetration. He liked how his team worked as a unit after some early breakdowns in communication.
“I don’t think we talked enough on defense. I was really getting after them to talk on defense,” said Fremont-Mills coach Rod Williams. “When they don’t communicate on defense, we run in practice so I told them if we don’t start talking to each other we’re going to running up and down the sideline.”
The Wolverines struggled shooting and point guard Devin Laughlin, who entered averaging 17.8 points per game, was held to two points. Joni Laughlin hit three first half three points against the zone and finished with a team-high 16 points.
“The zone really hurt us,” said East Mills coach Jeff Laughlin. “We weren’t able to attack it all. I didn’t think we got nearly enough out of our post and our ball movement was stagnant. Joni was able to knock down some shots but we weren’t able to hit enough to get them out of their zone.”
Taryn Williams paced the Knights with 21 points while McClary, a junior center, had her second straight strong game in the post.
“She had a breakout game,” Williams said of McClary. “She had 20 against Clarinda Academy but her breakout happened right here. I told her I’ve been waiting two years for this. She’s got those long arms and she’s had great moves but she’s never been able to finish. It’s because she’s been working at it, getting better and it’s starting to pay off.”