Mallard Creek High had to put in extra effort to keep pace in the MECKA 4A Conference girls’ basketball race.
The Mavericks rallied from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter to outlast Concord Robinson 63-61 in overtime on Friday at Mallard Creek. The win gave Mallard Creek (13-3, 4-2) sole possession of third place while the Bulldogs (11-4, 3-3) slipped a game behind.
“The big thing is to protect home,” Mavericks coach C.J. Johnson said. “It was great we were able to get a home victory because going to their place is going to be tough, but to get a home win was major.”
Mallard Creek, paced by Zaria Wright’s game-high 27 points and Chantel Williams’ 13, had to earn it. After Brittany Vaughers dropped a pair of free throws to push Robinson to a 48-38 lead with 6 minutes, 41 seconds remaining in the fourth, the Mavericks reeled off an 11-0 run over 2:54 for a one-point advantage. The Bulldogs responded by scoring the next six points, but Mallard Creek forced overtime on Williams’ steal and assist to Wright for a layup with 19 seconds left. Wright scored nine points in the fourth while Williams added eight.
“That defense, that man-to-man pressure caught them off guard,” Johnson said. “We got a bunch of the 50-50 balls and the press that got them.”
Mallard Creek didn’t score a field goal in overtime, but went in front for good on a pair of Kayla Brown free throws with 1:28 left. The Mavericks converted 6-of-8 over that span, which combined with their added defensive intensity was enough to clinch the win.
Robinson led most of the way, primarily by exploiting its size in the paint. Kelsi Mahoney, a 6-foot-1 forward pumped in 22 points, 17 in the first three quarters, and combined with 6-1 reserve center Ashley Bearden (eight points) to wreak havoc on both ends of the floor.
“That was our challenge – they have two good big girls,” Johnson said. “They’ve got one who’s a good perimeter player and the other is just big and strong, so we had to make shots where they wouldn’t affect us as much. I give them credit. What we basically have is a bunch of guards.”
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