Mendon faced one of its first real tests of the girls basketball season Monday at home against Athens and the Hornets were up for the challenge.
Even with an offensive drought over the last eight minutes, Mendon pulled out a 44-35 victory to improve to 7-0 overall. After receiving votes in the most recent Associated Press Class C poll, Monday’s victory over Class D’s seventh-ranked squad might be enough to push the Hornets into the rankings come Tuesday morning.
Brooke Howard lit up the Indians (6-2) with 24 points and 12 rebounds. Grace Leighton and Jenna Griffith scored six apiece, Alexis Russell posted four and Jackie Friel and Cierra Furlong added two each. Russell and Furlong both secured five rebounds, with Leighton and Griffith grabbing three.
Griffith also paced Mendon with three steals and four assists.
Mendon entered the second quarter up 16-8 and went on to outscore Athens 14-1 before the break. As it turned out, the cushion was needed to survive a final 16 minutes when the Indians turned up the heat and outscored the Hornets 26-14.
“Again, the second quarter was our strongest defensively,” Mendon coach Leasa Griffith said. “We also distributed the ball well that quarter. Athens came out tough in the third and fourth quarters with an aggressive press, but we were able to weather it. “This was a good game for us to have at this point in the season.”
Allison Fuller and Allysha Beal led Athens with 15 and 10 points, respectively.
“It was a great game for us to test our skills,” Furlong said. “It was a competitive game and we were able to try new things that we weren’t necessarily able to in previous games. We ran some new plays and got to work on taking the ball down the court and learned how to handle pressure situations.”