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Late Raider comeback falls short in loss to Golden Bears

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Shenandoah’s Erikka Hill (44) battles Monroe Central’s Jordyn Barga (12) for the opening tip (Barga won) as the Raiders’ Kathryn Perry (2) watches during Tuesday night’s Mid-Eastern Conference girls basketball game in the Bear’s Den. Barga had game highs of 20 points and eight revounds for the host Golden Bears while Perry scored 16 points and Hill 11 for Shenandoah, Monroe Central won 49-42.
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Shenandoah’s Kathryn Perry (2) throws an outlet pass for a fast break after a steal as, from the left, the Raiders’ Faith Muterspaugh, Jenna Stewart, and Stormie Fitch race down the court during Tuesday night’s MEC girls basketball game at Class 2A No. 11 Monroe Central. Perry scored 16 points on her birthday, but the host Golden Bears won 49-42.
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Shenandoah’s Stormie Fitch (12) is guarded by Hannah McCollum (20-white) of host Monroe Central as the Raiders’ Jenna Stewart (20-blue) waits for a pass during Tuesday night’s MEC girls basketball game. Shenandoah trimmed a 12-point deficit to five but got no closer as the Class 2A No. 11 Golden Bears won 49-42.

By DAVID RISLEY - drisley@thecouriertimes.com

PARKER CITY - The Shenandoah High School girls basketball team had lost three games by a total of 11 points coming into Tuesday night's contest at Class 2A No. 11 Monroe Central and hoped to get a quality Mid-Eastern Conference win on the road against a good team to still have a shot at a piece of the league title.

The Raiders got off to a slow start offensively and trailed by double digits at halftime. Shenandoah played much better in the second half, doubling its point total of the opening 16 minutes of play, but a late comeback fell short and the Raiders lost to the host Golden Bears 49-42.

Monroe Central stayed undefeated in the MEC at 3-0 and improved to 5-2 overall. The Raiders slipped to 1-3 in the MEC and 5-4 overall.

"That's been the storyline of our season thus far," Shenandoah Coach Dameon Wyatt said after the game. "We don't execute or follow the game plan at times, allow some easy baskets, find ourselves down, and have to play catch-up."

The Golden Bears hounded Shenandoah leading scorer Kathryn Perry all evening, with one player from the hosts almost always in her face. Perry, who celebrated her 16th birthday Tuesday, did a pretty good job in spite of that, hitting one-half of her field goal attempts and all four free throws for a team-high 16 points. But the sophomore had only 12 field goal attempts the entire contest.

On the other side, Monroe Central's 6-0 senior Jordyn Barga was a load for Shenandoah to handle, as she finished with game-highs of 20 points and eight rebounds. Many of those caroms were of the offensive variety where she got several second-chance opportunities and either hit the bucket or got fouled and hit the free throws.

When Barga wasn't scoring for the Golden Bears, 5-4 junior Hannah Bolton was, as Bolton hit four field goals (including a trey) and all nine charity tosses she attempted for 18 points. Bolton also had six boards.

The Raiders' other main offensive weapon, sophomore Erikka Hill, did a good job with the ball when the sphere was thrown to her, hitting 5-of-8 shots and scoring 11 points. But Monroe Central did a good job of boxing out one of the area's leading rebounders, as Hill grabbed just two caroms.

Rebounding was the most glaring parameter of this contest, as the Golden Bears had 26 boards to just 17 for Shenandoah. Since the differential in turnovers was just one (19-18), that rebounding advantage for the hosts enabled them to get six more shots from the field and eight more attempts from the free throw line than the Raiders had.

Both teams were deadly from the charity stripe as Monroe Central hit 15-of-16 and Shenandoah 7-of-8. Those eight extra points from the foul line for the Golden Bears were the difference in the contest.

"Obviously, you want to shoot more free throws than your opponent," Wyatt explained. "But we didn't do the right things at times to do that, and it cost us. They're (Golden Bears) a good team, and you have to play very well, particularly at their place, to beat them."

Both teams were sloppy with the basketball in the first quarter (eight turnovers for Monroe Central and six for the Raiders), but the visitors' shooting woes from the field compounded the problem for them as they fell into a 8-1 hole with 3:09 left in the opening period, prompting Wyatt to call timeout.

Faith Muterspaugh buried a three-pointer to pull Shenandoah to within 8-4 at the 2:45 mark. It was the only field goal in the period and the only trey for the Raiders in the game. Monroe Central led at the end of the first stop 14-6.

The visitors were just 1-for-8 from the floor in the initial period, while the hosts went 4-for-8.

A basket by the Golden Bears' Gabby Beckham 68 seconds into the second quarter gave the hosts a 16-6 advantage, but Perry hit a couple free throws and Jenna Stewart and Stormie Fitch added a bucket apiece for six straight Raider points to trim the Monroe Central lead to 16-12 with 3:07 remaining in the first half.

But Shenandoah got only a Perry basket the rest of the period as the Golden Bears went on a 10-2 run to grab a 26-14 lead at intermission. Five different players scored at least two points for the hosts in the frame, with Hannah Bolton and Hannah McCollum canning a three-pointer apiece.

Through the first four-plus minutes of the third quarter, the two teams traded points and Monroe Central still held a 34-22 advantage at the 3:41 mark of the period. But the Raiders' Rachel Soden and Hill hit back-to-back buckets to pull Shenandoah back to within single digits at 34-26 and prompted a timeout by the hosts with 2:48 left in the quarter.

A Perry bucket cut the Monroe Central lead to 37-30, but Barga hit a basket two seconds before the horn and the Golden Bears led 39-30 after three.

Perry and Hill hit buckets in the first 90 seconds of the fourth quarter to whittle the hosts' advantage down to 39-34 and induced a timeout by Monroe Central.

Barga and Muterspaugh traded baskets to make it 41-36 and after Monroe Central missed a shot, the Raiders had a chance to trim their deficit to three or two points.

But it didn't happen. Shenandoah missed a shot, Barga hit one of two free throws, and Hannah Bolton made a bucket to put the hosts up 44-36 at the 3:51 mark.

The Raiders turned up the defensive pressure and the Golden Bears turned the ball over six times in the period. The visitors' Rylee Johnson sank a basket at the 2:25 mark, but the hosts milked clock until Hannah Bolton converted a traditional three-point play to put Monroe Central up nine at 47-38 with 1:10 left in the game.

Hill hit a basket and Perry a lay-up with 45.1 seconds to play after another Golden Bear turnover to pull the visitors to within five again at 47-42. But that was as close as Shenandoah got, and Hannah Bolton closed out the scoring by sinking two charity tosses with 28.6 seconds remaining in the contest.

After hitting 7-of-9 from the floor in the third quarter and 6-of-12 in the fourth, the Raiders finished the game hitting 17-of-35 field goals (48.6 percent), which was much better than the Golden Bears' 16-for-41 (39 percent). But those extra made free throws for the hosts were the difference.

Stewart led Shenandoah in rebounding with four boards and Muterspaugh corralled three caroms.

Monroe Central won the junior varsity game 44-20. Brandy Johnson scored 10 points and Catherine Duncan eight to lead the Golden Bears, while Rylee Johnson had six points and Hannah Zody five to lead the Raiders.

Shenandoah hosts Tri Friday in a girl/boy doubleheader with girls action starting at 6 p.m.

"Hopefully, we can take some things from our four losses that will benefit us down the road," Wyatt added. "Our sole focus is on Tri right now."

Monroe Central 49, Shenandoah 42

SHENANDOAH (42)

Perry 6-12 4-4 16, Fitch 1-1 0-0 2, Stewart 1-1 2-2 4, Muterspaugh 2-9 0-0 5, Hill 5-8 1-2 11, Soden 1-3 0-0 2, Cole 0-0 0-0 0, Campbell 0-0 0-0 0, Johnson 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 17-35 7-8 42.

MONROE CENTRAL (49)

B. Bolton 0-4 0-0 0, Barga 7-13 6-7 20, H. Bolton 4-10 9-9 18, McCollum 2-2 0-0 5, Pike 2-4 0-0 4, Morrison 0-3 0-0 0, Beckham 1-5 0-0 2, Hoeing 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 16-41 15-16 49.

Shenandoah`6`8`16`12`-42

Monroe Central`14`12`13`10`-49

3-point goals – Shenandoah 1 (Muterspaugh), Monroe Central 2 (H. Bolton, McCollum). Rebounds – Shenandoah 17 (Stewart 4, Muterspaugh 3), Monroe Central 26 (Barga 8, H. Bolton 6). Total fouls – Shenandoah 14, Monroe Central 11. Turnovers – Shenandoah 19, Monroe Central 18. JV score – Monroe Central 44, Shenandoah 20. Records – Shenandoah 5-4, 1-3 MEC; Monroe Central 5-2, 3-0 MEC.