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Wynford’s pressure too much for Mohawk girls

Leading scorer
Wynford’s Olivia Grove shoots over a Mohawk defender on Tuesday night. Grove scored a team-high 14 points in the Royals’ 56-33 win over the Warriors in Northern 10 Athletic Conference action.
Daily Chief-Union/Andrew Wilson

SYCAMORE — The Mohawk girls basketball team’s goal was to only turn the ball over a total of 10 times.

Wynford had other ideas.

Using their full-court press and zone defense in the half court, the Royals forced eight turnovers in the first three minutes of the game and 22 turnovers on the night in their 56-33 victory over Mohawk on Tuesday at Mohawk High School.

“We were working on our 12, our press, and then our X, it was working out, especially our scramble after the miss,” Wynford guard Mia Leuthold said.

“We did good on that, and then getting that second pass helped a lot with our turnovers and then (we) converted a lot.”

The Royals (12-5, 9-4 Northern 10 Athletic Conference) have won four consecutive games and sit in sole possession of third place in the N10.

“I thought our defensive intensity was really good early,” Wynford coach Amy Taylor-Sheldon said.

“We had some steals and converted, we haven’t always done that. I felt that that helped build our momentum and our lead and I was pretty happy about that.”

The Royals were led by senior forward Olivia Grove, who scored 14 points.

Mia Leuthold scored 10 points, Briley Pollock added 8 points and Lyndie Williams tallied 7 points.

The Royals hit three 3-pointers in the first quarter as they raced out to a 15-4 lead following Kaylee Smith’s 3-pointer from the right corner.

The Royals led 32-12 at the half following Pollock’s buzzer-beating layup.

As large as the deficit was, connecting on more shots from the free throw line would have enabled the Warriors to stay closer early, but the Warriors only made 8 of 19 free throws on the night.

Lane to the hoop
Mohawk’s Aubrey Margraf shoots a floater over Wynford’s Mia Leuthold on Tuesday night. Margraf scored 6 points in the Warriors’ 56-33 loss to the Royals at Mohawk.
Daily Chief-Union/Andrew Wilson

In the second half, when the Royals backed off of their full-court press, the Warriors found more scoring opportunities.

“I think they took off the press,” Mohawk coach Michael Haynes said.

“Them taking off the pressure helped us get the ball up the floor finally. We had eight turnovers in the first three minutes of the game, our goal was to have 10. I think they hold off the pressure a little bit and we got some better looks. We penetrated, got some layups. I don’t think they did anything too different, they just laid off of their pressure.”

The Royals connected on 17 of 35 shots from inside the arc, 5 of 16 shots from behind the arc and 5 of 12 free throws.

The Royals led by as much as 40-16 after a layup by Grove with 5:28 remaining in the third quarter.

At the end of the third quarter, the Royals beat the buzzer once again, this time on Williams’ jumper from the left wing.

“I think the good thing is that they’ve made more 3s,” Taylor-Sheldon said of Williams, Smith and Leuthold’s contributions.

“Early, we had games all three of them would be off, now, most of our games two of the three are hitting 3s or three out of the three are hitting 3s. Even if it’s not a ton of (points), in double digits, we’re able to sub people and get breaks and have opportunities. I think that’s where, at this part of the season, our depth is really helping us.”

Marah Gillig, who entered Tuesday’s game having scored 17 and 19 points in each of her last two games, finished with a team-high 10 points, including seven in the second half.

Confidence, Haynes said, has been the key to her resurgence in the second half of the season.

“She has confidence, confidence in her,” Haynes said.

“A lot of teams have been laying off of her because she’s been struggling shooting, but now, she’s finally getting in the midseason form of shooting. She’s getting a lot better at that. Again, it’s all confidence with her. She’s doing a great job for us.”

Aubrie Harper finished with 7 points, Aubrey Margraf scored 6 points, Brooke Hannam finished with 5 points and Kennedy Cleveland scored 3 points.

The Warriors (3-13, 3-9 N10) connected on 11 of 34 shots from inside the arc and 1 of 5 from behind the arc.

The Royals also won the junior varsity game, 27-14.

Hannah Messmer scored 10 points for the Royals. Lily Hammer scored 6 points for the Warriors.

Next up, Wynford travels to Ashland Crestview at 6 p.m. Thursday. Mohawk travels to Seneca East at 6 p.m. Friday.

WYNFORD (12-5, 9-4 N10): Grove 6-2-14, Leuthold 4-0-10, Pollock 4-0-8, Williams 1-2-7, Tobias 2-0-4, Kaple 2-0-4, Smith 1-0-3, Alspach 1-0-3, Messmer 1-1-3.

Totals 22-51 5-12 56.

MOHAWK (3-13, 3-9 N10): Gillig 4-2-10, Harper 3-1-7, Margraf 2-2-6, Hannam 2-1-5, Cleveland 1-0-3, Fredritz 0-1-1, Thiery 0-1-1.

Totals 12-39 8-19 33.

3-point goals: Leuthold 2, Williams, Smith, Alspach, Cleveland.

Score by quarters

Mohawk          6          6          11        10        — 33

Wynford          15        17        17        7          — 56

Junior varsity: Wynford won 27-14.

Staff writer

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