Consistent free throw shooting and late-game baskets helped the Mehlville girls basketball team to a 63-52 win over Fox in the first round of districts at Fox High School Monday afternoon.
The Warriors came within two of the Panthers, but a big basket and defensive rebound by Mandy Fox with 1:48 left gave the Mehlville the opportunity to widen the gap.
“They played great, I mean Mehlville just—they couldn’t miss,” said Fox coach Jeremy Donald. “I couldn’t be more proud of my girls, we fought back and it looked like we were out of it, and we cut it to two and Mehlville made shots.”
Mandy Fox made two more free throws and scored another basket to make the score 60-52 with 20 seconds left. She was the game-high scorer with 21 points.
“She (Fox) did a fabulous job of rebounding, finishing, she was really using the strength to her advantage on the low post,” said Mehlville coach Laura Bishop. “I really got on the post players at halftime because of the lack of rebounding.”
The Warriors only trailed by three at the half thanks to a buzzer basket by Erin Birschbach. The 5-foot-7 sophomore scored 17 points, with most of them coming in the second half.
Another Fox sophomore, Selma Fific, added 20 points for the Warriors.
“They’re both sophomores and they’re the leaders of our team; they’re our go-to people,” Donald said. “They’ve got a great future.”
But the combined effort of the two couldn’t stop Mehlville’s offense.
Sierra Gray opened the second half with four points and Emily Fox had two 3-pointers, finishing with 16 points.
“Our offense helped, we played good offense and we started rebounding better which was a good help,” Bishop said.
Donald said he was proud of his team, which ended the season at 9-16.
“We finished with nine wins which is the most we’ve had in a while, but more importantly, we’ve had a lot of games like this,” he said. “We’ve been in almost every game this year.”
The Panthers, who were 9-15 during the regular season, move on and play Kirkwood Tuesday at 7 p.m.
“They’re good,” Bishop said about Kirkwood. “Scoring, they’ve got good guard play, they’re quick. We’re going to do the same thing and try and protect the 3-point line and the boards and hopefully we can get some of our own offense going.”
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