Lady Broncos’ defense thwarts Yukon rally

Yukon’s Sydney Brown guards Mustang’s Talia Pogi during Friday’s rivalry game. The game was played at Yukon. Photo / Terry Groover

When Mustang High suffered a nearly catastrophic offensive outage in the fourth quarter against Yukon, the Lady Broncos’ zone defense bailed them out in the heated bedlam rivalry.
Boosted in the waning moments by several key hustle plays from guard Jordyn Rollins, No. 18-ranked Mustang eked out a 44-43 victory over the Millerettes last Friday before about 750 noisy fans in Yukon High School’s gym.
“She played a heck of a game,” Mustang coach Katie Bass said of Rollins’ defense and decision-making late in the game.
Rollins, a 6-foot-1 freshman, stole the basketball once and knocked it free for a near steal another time in the last 2:23 with Mustang clinging to the lead.
Just before the final buzzer, Rollins also blocked Millerette senior Kristen Readel’s desperation shot from deep in the backcourt, assuring that Yukon’s miraculous rally fell short, too.
Mustang had to call timeout twice in the last 4.6 seconds before passing inbounds near Yukon’s basket after Millerette junior guard Sydney Brown lost the ball on the baseline. She was trying to drive for the go-ahead shot between Rollins and center Kyra Misuraca.
“That last drive was one of those plays that can go either way,” Yukon coach Roy Wyckoff said. “There might have been contact, but it was a 50-50-type play or no call.”
Bass praised the quick thinking of Rollins on the inbounds play when she called the second timeout to avoid a five-second infraction with Yukon’s defense blanketing the Lady Broncos.
“I just stayed focused for my team,” Rollins said. “When you get nervous, you can make mistakes.”
After MHS’ timeout, Rollins made an inbounds pass to Misuraca, who Yukon promptly fouled with 2.1 seconds left.
Misuraca missed the front end of the one-and-one, and Readel rebounded. But Rollins made sure Readel’s desperation heave never took flight.
Mustang improved to 11-12. Yukon, which had lost 40-28 to MHS on Jan. 28, fell to 8-14.
The Lady Broncos built a 41-29 lead to end the third period. But Yukon’s defense tightened, forcing four turnovers in the next three minutes.
The Millerettes then reeled off 12 unanswered points to tie it, keyed by sophomore guard A’Munique Holmes’ two treys.
“I thought our girls started playing for each other in the fourth quarter,” Wyckoff said. “Once they saw a few shots fall, they really fed off the energy of the crowd and our bench.”
Mustang didn’t score its first and only basket of the quarter until Rollins’ offensive rebound and shot underneath broke a 41-41 tie with 4:05 left.
In the last period, MHS was just 1-of-4 from the field, 1-of-3 at the foul line, had five of its 15 turnovers and only three points.
Rollins collected eight points and five rebounds.
“As a freshman, I was proud of how Jordyn handled the pressure,” Mustang point guard Talia Pogi said. “She was going after everything, especially the 50-50 balls.”
The Millerettes’ Brown drove the lane to bank in a short jumper, tying the game at 43-all with 3:24 remaining.
Mustang guard Lunden Foreman snapped the deadlock, hitting the second of two free throws with 2:55 to go.
Foreman, a freshman starter, had eight points and four rebounds, and caused havoc at the top of the zone, Pogi said.
“Actually, our zone worked 10 times better than our man,” Pogi said. “We’re good at gapping — sliding over and covering areas of the zone.
“They were beating us off the dribble in our man (defense), then kicked out to open shooters when we collapsed. They knocked down shots.”
Yukon handled the ball most of the last 2:55, but MHS’ 2-3 zone defense denied open shots to the Millerettes.
“Our zone was big in that last three minutes,” Bass said. “I felt like it put a lot more pressure on their guards.
“They probably used 21/2 minutes off the clock. They attacked, tried to get in gaps but couldn’t get good shots.”
Mustang led 28-15 at halftime and 37-20 with 5:27 left in the third period after Misuraca hit back-to-back rebound shots. The 6-foot-3 senior had 10 points and nine rebounds.
Jaki Rollins and Pogi scored eight and six points, respectively. Jaki, a sophomore, is Jordyn’s sister.
Holmes scored 15 points and Readel had 12 points and six rebounds for Yukon.
“It was an ugly win,” Bass said. “But a win is a win.”

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