The Class D2 No. 8 state-ranked Mullen Lady Broncos brought their spotless 11-0 record into the McGahan Activities Center to take on a formidable opponent in the St. Pat’s Lady Irish on Tuesday. St. Pat’s, 10-1, came into the contest ranked No. 2 in C2 according to the Omaha World-Herald.
The Lady Irish handed Mullen their first loss of the year, downing the Lady Broncos 55-39.
The St. Pat’s Irish overcame a slow start overcoming a 24-20 halftime deficit, to beat the Broncos 64-41.
Shelby Allberry led the Lady Irish with 15 points on the night. Allberry made five field goals, three from behind the arc and was perfect at the line making both attempts. Brittany Lawrence also was in double figures with 10 points.
St. Pat’s held quarter leads of 19-14 and 37-25 in the first half, but the Lady Irish couldn’t put the Lady Broncos away.
Nathan Stienike, St. Pat’s head coach, was impressed with the play of the Lady Broncos.
“Mullen is a quality club,” Stienike said. “They seemed like they had an answer to every shot we made.”
Both teams traded baskets to begin the third quarter, but Allberry helped the Lady Irish get a little more separation when she hit two of her three 3s on the night to put her team up by 17. A 3 by Mullen’s Clara Vinton set the score at 49-35 heading into the fourth.
“Shelby hit back-to-back 3s that were pretty big for us,” said Stienike. “It was a close game at half and Shelby gave us momentum with those 3s.”
Mullen coach Ryan Ridenour said St. Pat’s outside shooting was the difference.
“It was a good game,” Ridenour said. “We matched up to each other really well. It was the 3-point shots that put them ahead tonight.”
Ridenour also felt the St. Pat’s guard play affected the outcome.
“The guard speed,” said Ridenour. “We don’t see a lot of that in D2 — consistently when all the guards are that quick.”
St. Pat’s stretched the lead to 20 to open the fourth quarter, as Lawrence scored on a Brook Boucher assist and Sam Byrn knocked down a pair of free throws.
Mandy O’Malley hit for six points in quarter one, and teammate Boucher threw in five with the help of a 3. Mullen got six points apiece from Vinton and Jessica Lovitt.
“We got some turnovers for layups especially early on to build our cushion,” Stienike said. “And then we played pretty even the rest of the way.”
Despite a size disadvantage, Ridenour was pleased with his team’s defense.
“We play pretty good post defense with our taller girls,” Ridenour said. “We have learned how to help, but it was the kick-out shots that hurt us tonight.”
St. Pat’s spread the scoring around, as they had five score eight or more.
“It is nice to see we can spread the ball out so well,” Stienike said. “When we don’t have one girl hitting, we like to spread the ball around. It’s tough to defend, but if we have a hot hand we’re sure going to go to it.”
St. Pat’s (11-1).......................................19 18 12 6 — 55
Mullen (10-1)...................................14 11 10 4 — 39
St. Pat’s stats: (2 pt, 3 pt, ft, pts) Anna O’Malley 2, 0, 1/2, 5; Mandy O’Malley 3, 1, 0/0, 9; Sam Byrn 3, 0, 2/4, 8; Brook Boucher 1, 2, 0/0, 8; Shelby Allberry 2, 3, 2/2, 15; Brittany Lawrence 4, 0, 2/5, 10.
Mullen stats: Amber Wright 2, 0, 2/2, 6; Jessica Lovitt 4, 0, 3/6, 11; Madison Tomlinson 3, 0, 0/0, 6; Cassidy Daly 1, 0, 1/4, 3; Clara Vinton 4, 1, 2/2, 13.
No. 4 Irish win
Both the Mullen Broncos and St. Pat’s Irish struggled to score in the opening quarter on Tuesday as the Broncos held a 9-6 lead heading to the second.
But the scoring picked up in quarter two, as Mullen would take a 24-20 lead into the locker room at half.
St. Pat’s took an 18-15 lead with 3:07 left in the second when Alex Harms scored on a Sean Keenan assist. But the Broncos came back with a seven-point run to take the lead back at 22-18.
Logan Ginkens hit a 3 from the top of the key and Riley Rice drove for two. Rice then scored as he went coast-to-coast at the 1:22 mark. A runner with 1 second on the clock by Rice put Mullen up 24-20.
“I thought in the first half, and second quarter especially, we were executing the offense the way we wanted to,” said Mullen coach Rusty Moore. “We were trying to slow the game down. We know [St. Pat’s] likes to run-and-gun if they get the opportunity, and we didn’t allow them to in the first half.”
“I think we ran into a Mullen team that was really ready to play — maybe more so than we were,” St. Pat’s coach William O’Malley said. “They were physical and equal to the task. They did a nice job defensively challenging all of opportunities.
“I thought several times in the first half we got the ball where we wanted it, but we just couldn’t finish. It’s a testament to their intensity.”
The second half would belong to the Irish, as they outscored Mullen 22-8 in the third quarter and 22-9 in the fourth. St. Pat’s talked at half about making a change in defense.
“At half we felt like in the first half we had tried to be overly aggressive and trap the ball a lot and it did hurt us because they got some easy baskets,” O’Malley said. “The second half we tried to just contain and keep the ball in front and then picking our moments to go for the ball and had some success at that.”
“We just ran out of gas,” Moore said. “I could tell about two minutes to go in the third quarter the kids were tired. There wasn’t much we could do at that point.”
The Irish also got a big boost from 6-foot-3 junior Mark Mayfield. Mayfield scored 18 of his game-high 20 points in the second half.
“Several of his baskets came off of defensive plays he had made and then scored in transition,” said O’Malley. “He’s really good at timing his break on the ball and has some length, so it helps him get some deflections. He did a nice job of converting those into baskets.”
“We knew he could shoot,” Moore said. “The first half he wasn’t getting the open looks but the second half he found them.”
Rice led the Broncos with 18 points.
“We go through Riley as far a scoring,” said Moore. “We need to get the ball in his hands and he creates.
“He can either shoot it or get others easy shots. So we have to work really hard to get him the ball.”
“He’s just really a good player,” O’Malley said of Rice. “Our basic plan going in was to limit the amount he had the ball.
“You could see once he had the ball he is capable of doing a lot of things. Some times we did a good job and other times we didn’t.”
St. Pat’s (9-2)................................6 14 22 22 — 64
Mullen (8-4).........................9 15 8 9 — 41
St. Pat’s stats: (2 pt, 3 pt, ft, pts) Sean Keenan 5, 0, 3/3, 13; Cory Clinch 0, 0, 1/2, 1; Joseph O’Malley 2, 0, 1/2, 5; Joseph Clinch 7, 0, 3/3, 17; Alex Harms 3, 0, 2/4, 8; Mark Mayfield 7, 2, 0/1, 20.
Mullen stats: Logan Ginkens 3, 2, 0/0, 12; Tye Spies 2, 0, 0/0, 4; Riley Rice 5, 2, 2/4, 18; Matt Furrow 0, 0, 3/4, 3; Josh Vinton 1, 0, 2/2, 4.