Turnovers crucial in Lady Jackets loss at home to Eastern

Brooklyn Peterson (22) attempts a layup amidst two Eastern defenders.

By Noah Dalton for WBIW.com

After a 10-day break from their last game against Linton-Stockton, Mitchell High School returned to play on Tuesday night, welcoming Eastern (Pekin) to The Hive, making up their previously postponed matchup that was scheduled for Dec. 6.

The Bluejackets have struggled as of late, losing four straight heading into last night’s game, with their last win coming on Dec. 3 against Clay City in the opening round of the North Daviess Girls Basketball Invitational tournament.

Their losing streak continued against the Musketeers, extending to five in-a-row after Mitchell fell via a final score of 67-33.

Assistant Head Coach Macy Robbins said that the coaching staff is stressing continuous improvement for the team with each practice and game, with the goal to have some of their key weaknesses that have led to them losing games corrected in time for the postseason.

“We’re just taking it day-by-day,” she said. “We really stressed to the girls, let’s get better today, like every single day we want to take a step forward in the right direction and it’s okay to make mistakes and everything but we really just want to keep pushing ourselves to be ready around sectional time. We just take it step by step.”

One of the glaring issues for the Bluejackets last night and on the season as a whole has been ball security, specifically against teams who choose to press them defensively early.

Against Eastern, they found themselves in an early hole in the first quarter after three straight turnovers leading to Musketeers baskets saw them down 9-0 to start the period.

“That’s something we have struggled with. One of our weaknesses is definitely ball handling and we’re trying to work on it and trying to put girls in the positions that they are comfortable with,” Robbins, who is also the Junior Varsity head coach for the school said regarding the team’s ball security struggles.

“It’s a growing program. we’re trying new things, putting people in bigger positions than what they might have had last year. I’m kind of new this season, but girls have definitely had to fill bigger roles this year. So, we’re just working with them on that and everything and hopefully we can get better with the ball handling in the future,” she continued.

Mylea Slone (13) is guarded by Elizabeth Trueblood (10)

Mitchell found the bottom of the net for the first time in the game with just under six minutes remaining in the first quarter, thanks to a made free throw attempt from Brooklyn Peterson.

Despite a few baskets from Peterson, as well as three points added by Jillian Bond later in the quarter, the Bluejackets were handicapped by their 10 first quarter turnovers, which Eastern continuously found ways to capitalize on.

Musketeers senior Ava Sowders had it going early, scoring 10 herself in the first quarter as her team led 24-8 after the first eight minutes of game time.

At the beginning of the second, Kyia McKinley, who scored six in the first, had it going for her team, nailing a three, making a quick shot near the rima nd then capping it off by hitting a cutting Sowders on her way to a layup to start the quarter off with a 7-0 run.

It was at this point in the game that Mitchell, who trailed by 21 points, but began to fight back.

Bond connected on 1-2 attempts from the stripe, before Peterson connected on another field goal attempt, adding to the five points she scored in the first.

Bond scored again, with an inside bucket after an offensive board, which trimmed the lead to 16.

Madeline Lewellen was sent to the line for Eastern, connecting on one of her attempts to break the Bluejackets quick 5-0 run, but Bond scored again shortly after, cashing a long two-point jumper.

Jillian Bond (33) shoots a jumpers against Eastern.

Malaya Tanglao, who made her return to the lineup on Tuesday after missing the last game against Linton-Stockton with an injury, was the next to score for Mitchell, making one of her two free-throw attempts.

McKinley then scored again for the Musketeers on a layup attempt for her team with around two minutes left to play in the quarter, but Peterson quickly countered back with a bucket despite being fouled on the play. After she hit the free-throw, the Bluejackets trailed by 13.

Though it may not seem like much, this was the best stretch of play for Mitchell in the game, as they limited their turnovers that were leading to points for the opposition and were able to find points on offensive, outscoring Eastern 11-3 during the stretch.

“We were just playing our game,” said Robbins.

“We kept our composure, I felt like we were looking at the 45-degree angles, we really stressed that at practice, and I felt like we just got in a hurry that first half. The other team just got us going out of our rhythm, but I felt like we came back and we decided to play our game, stick to how we do things and it worked out,” she continued.

Robbins felt the team did their best job on the night handling the defensive pressure brought forth by the Musketeers during that run, which was a big part of their brief success.

“I thought during that little spurt we had we really broke their press very well and I think we showed that we are capable of breaking the press If we could just calm down, keep our composure and find the open girl, cut to the open area,” she said.

Malaya Tanglao (21) dribbles up the floor against Eastern.

From there, things picked back up much of the same way they’d gone in the first, with Eastern finishing the quarter on another strong stretch, taking a 44-23 lead into the half.

In the third, the Bluejackets were only able to net just four points, all of which were scored by Peterson, as the Musketeers continued to find success forcing turnovers and capitalizing on them. Gracie Lewis led the charge for Eastern, scoring seven for them in the quarter on their way to a commanding 55-27 lead heading into the fourth, where Mitchell was ultimately defeated.

Peterson led the Bluejackets in scoring on the night with 20 points. Bond added 12 and Tanglao scored one. They were the only Mitchell players to score on the night.

Sowder scored 20 as well for the Musketeers. Behind her were fellow double-digit scorers McKinley with 13 and Lewis with 10.

Mitchell is now 3-11 on the season, with a 1-2 record in Patoka Lake Athletic Conference games. Their next game will be Thursday, when they travel to Princeton to take on the Tigers (5-5).