A fast start and a fast finish propelled the Mendota Lady Trojans to a 44-27 victory over Big Northern Conference foe North Boone in the opening game of the abbreviated 2021 basketball season on Feb. 6 at the MHS gym.
Mendota led 9-0 after the first quarter, but then only managed one point in the second period while North Boone had 12 tallies to take a 12-10 halftime advantage. The visitors scored the first basket of the third frame to grab a 14-10 lead, but Mendota freshman Reanna Brant keyed a comeback with a basket and then a conventional three-point play to put the Lady Trojans on top, 15-14. Mendota held a 22-18 margin with three quarters in the books.
The Lady Trojans took their first double-digit lead of the game with 5:04 left on two free throws by Daisy Arteaga, who torched the net for 15 of her game-high 20 points in the final frame.
Brant also hit double-figure scoring with 11 points, while she led the squad with 10 rebounds. Arteaga and Jenna O’Donnell provided five and four steals, respectively.
“We came out aggressive on defense and jumped out to a 9-0 lead and then didn’t score for about seven minutes,” said MHS coach John Hansen. “We shook it off in the second half and took care of business.”
Mendota stayed close for a half, but Rockford Lutheran pulled away for a 50-26 conference win over the Lady Trojans on Feb. 8 at Rockford.
The home team held a 14-11 advantage at the break, but then opened up a 30-19 margin after three and kept building on the lead in the fourth frame.
“We played scrappy on defense and that kept us around for the first half, but we were too sloppy with the ball and made too many turnovers to stay in the game,” noted Hansen.
Arteaga and Brant provided 10 points apiece for Mendota. Brant led with 12 rebounds and O’Donnell had five steals.
Mendota struggled shooting the ball, particularly at the free throw line, where it made just six of 24 attempts.