By: Daniel Cooley
PIONEER – Montpelier used a balanced scoring attack to overcome North Central 41-34.
Kelsie Bumb and Aleigha Hillard each scored 11 and Jada Uribes added nine points for the Lady Locomotives, who finished the regular season at 10-12 overall and 4-3 in the Buckeye Border Conference.
“It was a great effort tonight,” said Montpelier coach Mike Bumb. “Kelsie (Bumb) had a great game and Aleigha (Hillard) had a great game, though she missed some time because she had some foul troubles.”
“We also did a nice job with our full court pressure. We finished the season with 10 wins, which isn’t bad. It was a good win to end the season, with tournament time coming up.”
The game didn’t start out well for Montpelier, which found itself trailing, 9-0, with two minutes left in the first quarter.
Isabelle Burnett hit a three-pointer, Makinzy King hit two buckets and Madeline Zimmerman connected, for the early North Central advantage.
“In the first quarter, we executed well, but then the turnover bug hit us, and we let them get back in the game,” said North Central coach Kim Hutchison.
Hillard got Montpelier started with a steal and a layup, propelling the Lady Locos to a 19-4 run for the remainder of the half, which gave Montpelier a 19-13 halftime advantage.
Hillard tallied nine of her 11 points in the first half.
“I knew I needed to help out, because we got off to a slow start,” Hillard said. “I’m pretty strong with my left hand, so I was able to maneuver to get some layups.”
“(With the team) coming out of a slump, it felt really good to get the win. It was a fun game to play.”
After Hillard’s first layup, Bumb hit a trey, to get Montpelier within 9-5, after one period.
Uribes started the second quarter with a bucket and Hillard then hit two layups to put Montpelier up, 11-9.
Burnett then hit a bucket to tie the game at 11-11, but Montpelier answered with eight straight points.
After Bumb’s second trey, Hillard then hit a layup and a free throw and Mandy Taylor scored to put Montpelier up, 19-11.
Amara Wright then scored for the Lady Eagles, to cut the Montpelier lead to 19-13 at the midway point.
Bumb started the second half with a trey, to put Montpelier up, 22-13. The teams then traded baskets, bringing the score to 26-17.
Uribes and Hillard then hit baskets to put Montpelier up, 30-17. Wright’s basket just before the third quarter buzzer helped North Central to close within 32-22, after three periods.
At the start of the final quarter, McGee hit a bucket and Bumb hit two free throws to give the Lady Locos their largest lead, at 36-22. North Central then went to a full court press and began to come back.
Baskets by King, Zimmerman and Caitlyn Meyers, followed by a Burnett trey, enabled the Lady Eagles to cut Montpelier’s lead to five, at 36-31.
“We were able to turn Montpelier over, but I think we then got tired and that allowed them to get a couple of easy buckets to push the lead back up and that was the ball game,” Hutchison said.
Taylor made a layup and Bumb hit another trey to put Montpelier up 41-31 with two minutes to go.
North Central got the ball back after a couple of turnovers, but wasn’t able to score again until Meyers hit a trey at the buzzer.
King led North Central (1-6 in the BBC and 3-18 overall) with 11 points, while Burnett added eight points.
MONTPELIER (41) – Bumb 11; Hillard 11; Humbarger 0; Grime 0; McGee 6; Taylor 4; Uribes 9; Totals: 11-5-4 – 41
NORTH CENTRAL (34) – Meyers 5; Burnett 8; Cruz 2; Zimmerman 4; Dominguez 0; King 11; Wright 4; Totals: 12-3-1 – 34
THREE-POINTERS: Montpelier – Bumb 3, McGee; North Central – Burnett 2, Meyers; REBOUNDS: Montpelier 17 (Uribes, Bumb, McGee 4); North Central 21 (Wright 6); TURNOVERS: Montpelier 18, North Central 21
MONTPELIER 4 15 13 9 – 41
NORTH CENTRAL 9 4 9 12 – 34
JUNIOR VARSITY: North Central, 12-9 (two quarters)
Dan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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