An unrelenting winter delayed Mendon’s trip to Gobles for several weeks, and the host team was ready when the Hornets finally arrived Tuesday.
Sitting one spot outside the Associated Press Class C top 10, Mendon didn’t take care of the ball like it usually does and No. 7 Gobles capitalized for a 39-35 victory.
“This was an intense, defensive battle,” Mendon coach Leasa Griffith said. “Our girls fought until the very end of the game, but the ball didn’t seem to bounce our way. We had a few key turnovers that led to Gobles’ baskets, which meant we had to come from behind. Now we have to get back to work to be ready for Bronson on Friday night.”
The Hornets (15-2) held an 18-17 lead heading into the third quarter, which is when Gobles made a few more plays to gain the decisive four-point advantage.
Brooke Howard poured in 14 points snared seven rebounds and Alexis Russell posted eight points and eight boards for Mendon. Both agreed that the Tigers’ pressure got the best of them at times.
“Defensively I think we played pretty solid but the game changer tonight was definitely turnovers,” Russell said. “We made a lot of them, especially passing turnovers. We also had a lot of shots go in and out, so that could have made a difference, too.”
Howard agreed with her teammate, adding that the late-season battle against a ranked opponent will only help the Hornets as districts rapidly approach.
“It was a tough game for us and they just forced us into turnovers at crucial points in the game,” Howard said. “They also were a very good rebounding team. We needed a game like this. As much as it’s painful to lose, it showed us what still can be worked on.”
Grace Leighton registered six points, Jenna Griffith finished with three, and Rachel Frisbie and Cierra Furlong each pitched in two.
Michaela DeKilder led Gobles (19-0) with 14 points and nine rebounds, and Ellen Doyle had nine. Haley Rock and Mollee Nason (five assists) both contributed six to the cause.
Griffith had a team-high three steals for Mendon, adding two assists.