Riding a two-game winning streak and an opening-round home playoff game Feb. 19, Mountain Range ladies basketball couldn’t find a rhythm against Douglas County (9-16, 3-7 in conference) in the …
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Riding a two-game winning streak and an opening-round home playoff game Feb. 19, Mountain Range ladies basketball couldn’t find a rhythm against Douglas County (9-16, 3-7 in conference) in the 54-41 defeat.
MR found themselves in the lead just twice all night, both in the first five minutes of the game. Behind a stellar defense, the Lady Mustangs’ allowed only three points in the first four minutes and 22 seconds, shadowing their offensive struggles with a 1-point lead. Douglas County took their first lead, 8-6, and they never turned back from there.
“Their defense was tough, but we weren’t focused enough to do the things that we need to do,” Mountain Range coach Bill Giampietro said postgame. “They kept us off-timing, and they just sped the game up enough to throw us off of what we wanted to do. Hats off to them, they did a great job.”
Despite being outscored by the road team 15-12 the remainder of the half, MR stuck around despite the barrage of three-pointers from DC. It felt as if MR was due to break through in the second half, particularly early, but that is when the Lady Huskies went on their run.
After a sloppy first half by a Lady Mustang team much more organized than they showed, this downward trend continued the first few minutes of the third quarter with four turnovers in their first five possessions. Activity from the young DC squad defensively mixed with extended offensive opportunities behind relentless offensive rebounding put MR in a bind, and a 10-point deficit heading to the fourth.
In the final frame, the home team looked dead in the water after the lead had swelled to 44-29 for Douglas County. But fortunately, as they have all season, the Lady Mustang’s weren’t going down without a fight.
Going on a 12-4 run the next two minutes and 12 seconds, MR put themselves within striking distance with 1:43 remaining behind five quick points by senior Anna Giampietro. Unfortunately for the lady Mustangs, they ran out of time, as a mini 6-0 DC run put the game away.
“We don’t have an on or off switch,” Giampietro said. “We have won some big games being down close to double-digits, so I know we will keep plugging away, but we need to work hard to be more even-keeled. We played hard for 32 minutes, but we didn’t play smart for 32 minutes.”
In a game that didn’t go the way Giampietro and his team wanted, MR can keep their heads high as a 15-9 (7-5 in conference) record, a home playoff game and the celebration of two seniors in Allison Brich and Giampietro has this program continuing in the right direction.
“One of those seniors is my daughter, and I’ve had her since second grade. It’s hard to be emotional right now because I love both girls. Ally has been a daughter to me also since I accepted the coaching role and luckily, I have had her for three years. It really hasn’t dawned on me that we are done and that I’m not going to see those girls on the floor, but the culture they brought as well as the unselfishness is what will hopefully stick for the six players that will be seniors next year. It was bittersweet to be able to coach them, give them a home playoff game, but definitely not the outcome I expected.”
Giampietro scored a team-high 14 points as juniors Ashleigh Hinds and Lillian West recorded eight and seven respectively.
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