West Frankfort, Ill. - After falling behind early, the Patriots were never able to pull even with visiting Crowley's Ridge in a 73-60 loss Wednesday night at Frankfort Intermediate School.
Much as they did when these teams met in early December, the Pioneers exploded out of the gates, scoring 18 points in the first five minutes of the first quarter while the Patriots struggled to gain their footing. A couple Autumn Gunter jumpshots helped calm the nerves, and Morthland was able pull within seven after the first 10 minutes of play, 20-13.
The second quarter was a back-and-forth affair, with neither team able to gain any ground. Every Morthland run was answered by the hot shooting of Crowley's Chelsie Spence, who went four of seven from the three-point line in the first half. A missed layup at the buzzer by the Patriots left the halftime score in favor of the Pioneers, 32-24.
While Morthland shot a higher percentage from the field in the first half, the difference came at the three-point line, with seven triples to only one in favor of the visitors, and in the turnover battle, a 13-6 advantage for the Pioneers.
The third quarter saw the hot shooting of Crowley's pick back up as Spence and Emily Eaker knocked down some huge threes in transition that widened the gap, despite the Patriots also finding an offensive rhythm. Heading to the fourth quarter, the lead ballooned to 23, 64-41.
The fourth quarter showed the resolve of the young Patriot bunch, as their defensive pressure and strong inside finishes brought the lead all the way down to nine. However, a couple big threes from the Pioneers quelled the rally and led to the final tally, 73-60.
Gunter led the way for Morthland, netting 23 points while Maranda Chance finished with a double-double with 21 points and 12 rebounds. The nation's leader in steals, Chance also had four thefts on the night. The Patriots also won the rebounding battle tonight, 56-46, with five players pulling down five rebounds or more. Maiya Tabron and Bailey Holly each finished a rebound shy of double figures.
The Patriots (5-16) will play at home again this Saturday, February 4, at 2:00 against Lindenwood-Belleville. The game will be played at Frankfort Intermediate School.