Mustangs corral Cyclones
EAST CHAIN – Granada-Huntley-East Chain freshman center Rachel Shumski scored a game-high 19 points, including a free throw with 25 seconds left, to give the Mustangs girls basketball team a 44-41 Valley Conference Showcase victory over the St. Clair Cyclones on Monday night in East Chain.
Shumski shot 5 of 8 in the second half from the floor, including a jumper in the lane with less than 5 minutes to go to help the Mustangs maintain their lead.
The freshman then sank one free throw during the final minute before her final basket gave the Mustangs a 44-41 lead with 25 seconds remaining and the eventual win.
After the Mustangs trailed 23-22 at halftime, Cyclones’ senior guards Kelsey Linnell and Chelsea Schull nailed a pair of 3-pointers to open the half and extend St. Clair’s lead to 32-25.
“I thought we played more aggressive defense in the second half on the inside and did a better job of anticipating the pass,” said Granada-Huntley-East Chain head coach Rick Uttech. “We tried to trap their shooters to change things up. Hopefully, do a better job on them.”
Amanda Cegelske split the pair of Cyclones 3s with her own trifecta from the wing to help the Mustangs stay within single-digit striking distance.
The Mustangs were able to recapture the lead with 9 minutes left in the game.
After a pair of passes were tipped off Cyclone defenders, Cegelske finished back-to-back inbounds plays by rolling to the hoop for layups to take a 37-35 advantage.
Cyclone sharp-shooter Chelsea Schull sank a 3 from the top of the key to bring her team back, making it 43-41 with 1:19 left on the clock.
Linnell, who went 5 of 12 from behind the 3-point line to pace a team-leading 16-point scoring effort, hit a 3-pointer to keep St. Clair close, but eventually fouled out in the final minute.
The Mustangs jumped out to an early lead, thanks to Anna Balcom’s eight first-half points, but the Cyclones’ outside shooting kept them in the game.
Cegelske swished a jump shot in the lane with 5 minutes remaining in the opening half, making it 21-17 in the home team’s favor.
Linnell sank back-to-back 3-pointers to give the Cyclones their first lead of the game at 23-21.
Balcom’s eight-point first half effort, along with Cegelske’s eight points, added to the Mustangs’ offensive attack.
In addition to Linnell’s 16-point effort, Schull scored 11 points and Katelyn Weber scored 10 for the Cyclones.
Weber also grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds, while Cegelske led the Mustangs with six boards.
Granada-Huntley-East Chain (11-6, 7-4 Valley) travels to Cleveland for a 7:30 p.m. Showcase game on Thursday.
St. Clair (9-11, 6-5 Valley) hosts Martin Luther in a 7:30 p.m. Showcase game on Thursday.