BY GREG FLINT
VEEDERSBURG, Ind. —
Missed opportunities and missed free throw were the reason the season ended in a 35-32 loss for the Fountain Central girls’ basketball team.
That was what Mustang head coach Amie Newhart said after the game, but there was one other thing missing that she would not use as an excuse — her bench.
Due to injuries, Fountain Central dressed only seven players and when two of them, starters Linley Smith and Morgan Grubb, got into foul trouble in the first half, she had no alternatives once she pulled those two.
“I didn’t want to take a chance of them picking up a third foul unless I absolutely had to bring them back,” said Newhart. “We brought in kids who came in and did what they were told.”
Delphi opened the scoring with a 4-0 run with Fountain Central taking just over half the quarter to put their first points on the board — a basket by Smith.
Mackenzie Hurd hit a free throw and then a lay-up off a pass from Grubb to give the Mustangs their first lead of the game at 5-4.
Delphi hit one more basket in the period to lead 6-5 going into the second quarter.
After Smith hit another basket to put the Mustangs in the lead again, she picked up her second foul and headed to the bench.
Fountain Central got another basket from Samantha Pigg to make it 9-6. They reached 10-8 at the 2:55 mark then went cold and did not score again until after the halftime break, by which time they were trailing 14-10.
Smith returned in the third quarter and immediately took the ball inside and netted two free throws. She would score again, about a minute later, but in the meantime, Delphi put more points on the board to lead 22-16.
In the final minute, only Fountain Central scored – a free throw by Grubb – to trail 22-17.
The final quarter saw Delphi go on a run that pushed the lead to a dozen at 31-19 with 3:31 left in the game, but suddenly the Mustangs caught fire.
Taylor Louthen hit a pair of treys, Grubb got a steal and them Mary Frazee hit a trey that cut the margin to five with 52 seconds left.
Hurd added two free throws against one by Delphi to pull within four, but the Mustangs could not score in the final 28 seconds until Frazee hit a shot at the horn to make the final score 35-32.
“We missed seven free throws in the first half,” said Newhart in looking back at the game. “We were still in it in the third quarter when we got stops, but we couldn’t execute our offense.”
She then added that if there was one thing this team should be remembered for is that never quit fighting back.
“They were up twelve and we cut it to three in the end,” she said, “It’s not that we fought just at the end, but we fought the whole game.”