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Mendota sophomore Abby Bromenschenkel (No. 23) dribbles past Byron’s Mayson Whipple during the Lady Trojans’ 66-45 loss Friday in a Big Northern Conference West Division game in Mendota. NewsTribune photo/Amanda Whitlock
MENDOTA — Mendota girls basketball coach Kevin Geldon was happy with his team’s effort in Friday’s loss to state-ranked Byron.
Just not its focus.
Playing against Class 2A’s No. 6-ranked team, Mendota hung with the Big Northern Conference West Division champions in Friday’s first half but couldn’t keep it up as the Tigers slowly pulled away in the second half and handed Mendota a 66-45 Senior Night defeat.
“Mentally, we just weren’t as ready to go, and I thought that was the tale of the tape,” Geldon said. “The silly mistakes we made, the defensive positioning errors and all the things we talked about and worked on in practice didn’t come through for the entire game and on every possession.”
After Tuesday’s win over Rockford Lutheran, the Lady Trojans (18-8, 5-6 BNC West) trailed from start to finish on Friday but stayed close in the first half.
After Byron built leads of 13-3 and 18-10 after the first quarter, MHS turned to its full-court press and also got Byron into foul trouble in the second quarter.
Mendota took advantage as it cut the deficit to four points on three separate occasions in the second quarter and pulled to 25-22 two minutes before half.
Byron pushed the lead back up to six before a bucket by Mendota sophomore Brooke Carroll in the final minute pulled the Lady Trojans to 28-24 at intermission. “We got into foul trouble in the first half,” said second-year Byron coach Eric Yerly, a 1998 Hall graduate. “We had, I think, six team fouls five minutes into the game so it really took us out of our game plan where we couldn’t pressure and force turnovers.”
However, in the second half, Byron took over.
The Tigers scored 23 points in the third quarter and outscored MHS 38-21 in the second half.
“I think (the comeback) was because of our effort,” Geldon said. “Our effort was pretty good, but every time we seemed to make a mistake they capitalized. Every time we had a bad closeout, they’d hit 3s. Every time we didn’t help (on defense), their big girls got easy layups. And they started breaking our press, which was mental. People were not where they needed to be in our press. They are a good team and capitalized on our mistakes.”
Mendota did slow the low post game of Byron.
Byron senior and University of Toledo recruit Sophie Reecher had just nine points and seven rebounds before fouling out, while post Ellie Lehne scored 13 points and had nine rebounds in limited minutes.
Byron did, however, hit eight 3-point shots.
“Our two big girls struggled underneath tonight, and that’s a credit to Abby (Bromenschenkel) and (Amy) Devitt,” Yerly said. “They are both good players, and we knew they’d be tough coming in.”
Devitt scored a team-high 12 points for MHS, while Abby Bromenschenkel added 10 points and seven rebounds. Ally Bromenschenkel chipped in eight points and 13 rebounds and Carroll scored seven points.
Mendota, which is Class 3A this season, finishes its regular season Tuesday at Rock Falls.
Note: The Mendota sophomore squad also fell to Byron as it lost 67-26. Bailey Beetz scored nine points for MHS.
Jared Bell can be reached at 220-6938, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @NT_SportsJared.
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