By ROBERT CHALUPNY
For the Call
The Mehlville Senior High School girls’ basketball team clawed its way over the .500 mark with a 56-50 win over Seckman (1-5) Friday night.
The difference in the game for the Panthers (5-4), according to head coach Laura Bishop, was grabbing the lead early and keeping it.
“I think we were more successful just because we came out and we were able to score right away and actually take the lead instead of digging ourselves out of a hole,” Bishop said. “… The two games prior to that, we were constantly trying to play catch up. So that made a huge difference.”
One of those games was the night before — Dec. 15 — against Rockwood Summit( 4-4) in which the Panthers fell 43-46.
“That was a tough one to get over. I didn’t get over that one until 6:30 p.m. Friday night,” Bishop told the Call.
Some of the early scoring for the Panthers in the Seckman game was provided by Sierra Gray, who had 21 points on the night.
“Sierra has had kind of a late start,” Bishop said. “She is getting better every game and she’s actually becoming kind of a silent leader on the floor. I mean, the kids look to her now for things and I think she’s kind of filling a role that we’ve needed to be filled.”
Also having a good game was Emily Fox, who had 12 points on the night. She sunk five of six free throws.
So far this season, the Panthers have had a solid start winning three of their last five games after placing third in the Southside Classic tournament to open the season.
Bishop told the call she is optimistic about continuing the success but remains focused on the challenges her team faces in the upcoming weeks.
“They all just need to learn what they are capable of doing and stay within that realm,” the Mehlville coach said. “… I always tell them all I want from them is to compete and get better.
“Offensively it’s to come out and score right away and not miss those easy chip-ins. I’m a firm believer in those first couple buckets of the game set the tempo for the rest of the game, especially for us. I want them not to have to dig themselves out of a hole,” she added.