Once Monache High School girls basketball gave themselves a chance to breathe and come together as a team, there was no stopping the Marauders’ fight in Wednesday’s 53-50 comeback win over the Patriots of Liberty.
After a slow start with numerous turnovers and sloppy fouls, Monache started to get things figured out late in the second quarter after successfully beating Liberty’s full-court press with Madisyn Baxter scoring off a pass from Danielle Garcia. From there the Marauders’ began feverishly chipping away at what once had been a Patriots’ 10-point lead, and with less than two-minutes to play in the first half, Baxter and Danielle Margosian knocked down back-to-back 3-pointers to take Monache’s first lead of the game. A finish and a fast break from Mia Penguilly carried the team into halftime with a 29-25 lead.
The second half was much closer for both teams, but where the Marauders found success was on their defensive pressure. Switching from a zone to a more man-on-man defense with a full-court press frustrated the Patriots’ offensively and forced them to turnover the ball. Liberty was able to take back the lead in the third quarter but a Penguilly free throw and a Baxter 3-pointer limited the damage to a 36-35 lead for the Patriots.
Monache struggled a bit with their defense in the fourth but their energy returned late in the game with a 3-pointer, this time from Kailyn Castle with 1:27 to play and the game tied at 45-all. Both teams ended up fouling their way through most of the final minutes, but it was Monache who made more free throws by going 10 of 16 from the line while Liberty was six of 13 to close out the game.
Baxter and Penguilly led the team with 14 points and Baxter finished with three 3-pointers on the night.
“I thought the girls showed a lot of heart tonight,” first-year MHS head coach Junell Garcia said. “They came from a big deficit in the first half and they never quit. Their defense was tremendous. And they just showed a ton of heart and they pulled out the win. Super proud of them.”
Monache plays next in December when they begin the Exeter High School tournament on Dec. 12.