MOUNT GILEAD — The Highland girls basketball team had plenty of motivation after Mount Gilead snapped a 15-game winning streak by the Scots earlier this season.
The Scots used a 9-0 rally in the second quarter and never trailed again in a 59-38 at Mount Gilead in Knox-Morrow Athletic Conference play Saturday afternoon.
“Losing to them was kind of bitter, but we knew that we were going to use that fuel to come back and beat them on their home court for the last time before we graduate,” said Gena West, a senior post for the Scots.
Madison Cecil had 20 points, nine rebounds, four assists and four steals and West added 15 points, 11 rebounds, two assists and a pair of blocks to lead the Scots (9-6, 7-4), who lost a 50-38 decision to MG on Dec. 11 in Sparta.
“We’re confident right now,” Highland coach Whitney Levering-Smith said. “Our girls are listening to our game plan. We’re (executing) our defensive game plan — which is our forte — and we strive off of that. Hopefully, that continues.”
“Defensively, they’re pretty good,” MG coach Bob Scott said. “That was the biggest thing — they got better defensively and they run their offense through (their defense) and they did that very well today.”
The last time Highland lost in the series was Dec. 7, 2011, when MG won 59-58 at home.
“That’s the first time that Highland has lost to Mount Gilead in a while and it stung,” Smith said. “We had it set in our minds that we were going to go out there and have it different with this game (today).”
Maddie Fitzpatrick had 15 points, six rebounds and three assists for the Indians, and Holly Gompf chipped in 10 points and four rebounds. Dakota Shipman led with 12 rebounds and Candace Millisor had six steals to lead Mount Gilead (12-3, 8-3), which fell three games back of KMAC leader Cardington and are tied for second with Danville. The Pirates clinched a share of the league title with a 57-26 win at Northmor Saturday afternoon.
West had two points, three rebounds, an assist and a block and Brooklyn Baird had three steals for the Scots during the go-ahead rally, which gave the Scots a 28-22 lead at the break after being down a point midway through the second quarter.
“I was very happy with (my game),” West said. “Getting those two blocks early was big and being able to make a 3 was huge for me because I don’t shoot them that often.”
West and Cecil combined for 13 points in the third quarter as the Scots pulled away.
Fitzpatrick provided the spark with eight of her team’s 16 second-half points for MG, which struggled shooting, knocking down just one 3-pointer and converting 5 of 11 free throws.
“We missed a lot of shots,” Scott said. “We’ve got another game Saturday and we’ve gotta bounce back. I told the girls after the game that you’re never as good as you think you are and you’re never as bad as you think you are. So, the test of our character is how we bounce back.”
Next up, Highland travels to Ontario in non-league action Tuesday night, which is scheduled to tip-off at 7:30 p.m. MG is off until Saturday when it continues league play at Fredericktown. Tip-off is scheduled for 2:30 p.m.
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