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Warriors hold off Royals for another big win

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Stuffed
Mohawk’s Emily Klopp (14) registers one of her seven blocked shots stuffs an attempt by Wynford’s Reese McGuire on Friday night. The Warriors led by 12 in the fourth quarter and held on for a 41-39 victory.
Daily Chief-Union/Lonnie McMillan

By LONNIE McMILLAN

Sports editor

SYCAMORE — Mohawk built a double-digit fourth-quarter lead Friday night and held off Wynford 41-39 to cap a huge week that brings them over .500 in the Northern 10 Athletic Conference on the season.

The Royals rallied all the way back to within one, but Kennedy Cleveland finally put the game away at the foul line in the final minute, three days after the Warriors picked up a nice win against Upper Sandusky.

Cleveland led the way for Mohawk (8-8, 6-5 N10) with 12 points, seven rebounds and three steals, while Joleigh Hamilton had nine points and seven rebounds.

“For a program like ours, that is as good a win as we’ve had in a long time,” Mohawk coach Bruce Hannam said. “When you’re a coach and you see that, it’s like having a kid and finally taking the training wheels off. Do you follow behind them and hope they don’t fall down? Are they good enough to understand what’s going on? That’s where this team is finally getting to, that they are able to have some vision on the floor and make some good decisions.”

Mohawk’s lead was a big as 36-24 on a Cleveland free throw with 5:54 remaining, but Wynford (11-5, 7-4 N10) went on a 12-1 run over the next five minutes to get within one. Averi McMillan scored a basket and was fouled with 31.7 seconds left, but her free throw that would have tied the game missed the mark.

Cleveland followed with two free throws to put the Warriors back up by three, and after an Alexis Stevely miss from 3-point range, Cleveland iced the game with two more foul shots with 5.5 seconds left. McMillan’s banked-in 3-pointer at the buzzer did not matter.

Contested shot
Wynford’s Alexis Stevely (33) runs at Mohawk’s AJ Chevalier as she attempts a jumper Friday night. Chevalier scored three points and Stevely six points in the Warriors’ 41-39 victory.
Daily Chief-Union/Lonnie McMillan

Reese McGuire paced the Royals with 15 points, accounting for all but two of her team’s first-half points with five 3-pointers. McMillan finished the night with nine points and 10 rebounds.

“There was a lot of things that Mohawk did that deserved victory today, especially in the first half,” Wynford coach Amy Taylor-Sheldon said. “With (Emily) Klopp on the inside blocking our shots and them making 3s from the perimeter — they shot better than the year’s average, so they shot well. They played well in almost every area, and we had deficits in almost every area, and they put us in that position to be at a disadvantage.”

Wynford’s comeback bid started with a Paige Smith free throw, and after a basket by McMillan, Grace Stucky split two free throws. The Royals missed their final five free throws of the game, though, and finished 5 of 15 at the foul line.

Stevely connected from deep to make it 36-31 with still over four minutes remaining. Mohawk got one much-needed point on four free throws during a stretch with just over two minutes remaining by collecting two offensive rebounds after twice missing the front end of a one-and-one.

Another 3-pointer from Stevely made it a one-possession game at 37-34, and after McGuire missed a pair of potential game-tying 3-pointers, Stevely missed twice at the foul line before McMillan’s basket through contact inside after Klopp had fouled out.

“We tried to do a better job of attacking the basket and getting to the foul line,” Taylor-Sheldon said. “Once Klopp fouled out, we tried to go inside to Averi there, and then Stevely hit a big 3 there. We just kind of ran out of time. We’ve taken a lot of pride the last couple of weeks blocking out and not giving up offensive rebounds, and they had offensive rebounds on free throws. We just can’t put ourselves in that position to be at a disadvantage.”

The game was tied at 8 after one quarter, and after McGuire’s final 3-pointer briefly put Wynford ahead 17-16, Cleveland answered with a 3-pointer to put Mohawk back on top, and it did not trail again.

A pair of Hamilton 3-pointers, with a Bailey Sheets basket in between, stretched the Warriors’ advantage to 30-19 in the middle of the third quarter, and they led 32-24 starting the fourth quarter.

“We’ve been working on a game like this for about a month now,” Hannam said. “We feel like we’ve kind of got our identity where we are a physical team, we attack the paint and kick when the opportunities are there. We just said we had to keep bringing it and bringing it.”

The 6-food-3 Klopp finished with just four points but blocked seven shots and had six rebounds. Mia Miller grabbed 10 rebounds for the Warriors, who finished with 18 of them on the offensive end.

Wynford’s Grace Stucky finished with three points, nine rebounds and five assists, often times setting up McGuire in her big first half.

“Reese had a great shooting first half,” Taylor-Sheldon said. “I think unfortunately it’s not a team win, but that’s her career high, especially to make all of them from 3. Unfortunately they forced us into too many turnovers and we just made too many mistakes.”

Mohawk pulled out the win despite finishing 13 of 43 (30.2%) from the field and 10 of 24 (41.7%) at the foul line. The Warriors never have finished higher than fifth place in the N10 but have a chance to finish as high as third this year.

“Wynford is a really good team,” Hannam said. “We talked about it. Everyone believed that we could win that game. We started so strong. I’m just glad we hung on.”

In another closely contested game, Mohawk came out on top in junior varsity action 27-26, getting 10 points from Allison Russell and nine from Gracie Clouse. Zoe Whitmeyer and Kenna Caldwell had 10 points each for Wynford.

The Royals play at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Plymouth. The Warriors are off until playing at 6 p.m. Friday at Seneca East.

WYNFORD (11-5, 7-4 N10): McGuire 5-0-15, McMillan 3-2-9, Stevely 2-0-6, Wagner 2-1-5, Stucky 1-1-3, Smith 0-1-1. Totals 13-49 5-15 39.

MOHAWK (8-8, 6-5 N10): Cleveland 3-5-12, Hamilton 3-1-9, Sheets 2-2-6, Klopp 2-0-4, Miller 1-2-4, Granata 1-0-3, Chevalier 1-0-3. Totals 13-43 10-24 41.

3-point goals: McGuire 5, Stevely 2, Hamilton 2, McMillan, Granata, Cleveland, Chevalier.

Score by quarters

Wynford                  8                9                7                15              — 39

Mohawk                  8                14              10              9                — 41

Junior varsity: Mohawk won 27-26.


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