Mitchell girls win big; boys lose in final minute
LEDGER – Mitchell boys’ basketball lost in the final minute of a close game against Rosman Dec. 20 after the Lady Mountaineers easily defeated the Lady Tigers for the second time this year.
A 3-pointer by Rosman with 20 seconds left in the game broke a 66-66 tie, and after Mitchell missed the front of end of a one-and-one Rosman grabbed the rebound and made two free throws to seal the win. Justin Greene’s three-quarter court shot at the buzzer made the final score 71-69.
After losing to the Tigers by 21 on the road Dec. 7, Mitchell, this time playing with a complete roster, led for the most of the game before Rosman stormed back in the final quarter.
Mitchell started the game slow before going on a 7-0 run late in the opening quarter, cutting Rosman’s lead to 12-10 heading into the second quarter. Threes by Jordan Bailey and Davis Sutton put Mitchell ahead before Greene scored 8-straight points for the Mountaineers. Rosman had a little run at the end of the quarter to make it 32-30 Mitchell at halftime.
Greene and Bailey started the third quarter with 3-pointers and Mitchell’s lead stretched to 9 before Rosman got a 3-point play. Mitchell built its lead back up to 8 by the end of the third quarter.
Rosman hit a few 3-pointers and Mitchell struggled to score early in the fourth quarter. A loose-ball scramble led to a Rosman 3-pointer to the tie the game at 62 with 3:23 left. The teams traded baskets before Rosman worked the clock down before getting the decisive basket.
“They hit some shots,” coach Chad Dellinger said about Rosman’s comeback
Greene had an outstanding game for Mitchell. He finished with 23 points after not scoring in the first quarter. Bailey added 10 points and Trystan Jenkins had 9.
Dellinger said his team did a good job of getting high-quality shots and not forcing plays. He said Greene, now in his fourth season on varsity, is capable of consistently putting up big numbers.
“He’s gotten a little more comfortable,” Dellinger said. “He’s got some guys around him that he hasn’t played with in a while.”
The Mountaineers were 1-6 after the loss, but Dellinger said he expects the team to continue to progress.
“We’re getting there,” Dellinger said about Mitchell’s improvement now that its roster is whole – several players missed the early portion of basketball season while still playing football. “(Alex McKinney and Ben Robinsoin) bring a lot of physicality that we’ve needed.”
In the girls’ game, Mitchell took control early and was up 17-4 after a quarter of play. By forcing turnovers and getting easy baskets, Mitchell went into halftime up 34-7. The second half was played with a running clock and Mitchell went on to win 58-19.
Morgan Buchanan continued her string of great play to lead Mitchell with 17 points while Emma Duncan scored 15. The Lady Mountaineers were 5-2 after the game, including a three-game win streak.
First-year coach Zack McCartha said he was glad to see his team handle its business against a lesser opponent.
“We need to show that we’re capable of winning the way we should win,” he said. “We played together and shared the ball really well. That’s what I was proud of. I like our team a lot; we’re getting a lot better. We’re improving every day. I think we can really make some noise going forward.”
Both teams are playing in the North Henderson Christmas Tournament Wednesday through Friday. The boys were scheduled to play Veritas Christian Academy Wednesday afternoon and the girls face North Buncombe.