Before Bartlett showed up Thursday night, Metea Valley’s players already had their hands full with final exams and the flu virus that’s been going around.
The Hawks, meanwhile, sought to make the best of their second game in 24 hours and their continuing inexperience issues.
Bartlett shrugged off Metea Valley’s big run in the first quarter and inched ahead briefly in the second half, but the Mustangs reeled off 12 straight points in the fourth quarter to seize a 47-34 Upstate Eight Conference Valley Division victory in Aurora.
Not only did the Mustangs (10-3, 5-1) earn their sixth consecutive win, they defeated Bartlett (8-7, 4-2) for the first time.
“I don’t think the game went exactly as we wanted it to,” said Metea Valley coach Kris Kalivas, referencing in part her team’s 20 turnovers. “But it’s been a long week. A win’s a win.”
Sophomore point guard Nia Flowers led a balanced Mustangs attack with 12 points and 5 assists. Senior post players Anna Petersen and Lori Obendorf combined for as many 22 rebounds, as many as all of the Hawks.
During Metea’s 12-0 run down the stretch, Flowers scored 4 points and turned a drive to the basket into a nice dish to Obendorf for a layup. Prior to that spree, Metea committed several turnovers that helped Bartlett stay close.
“We realized that we had to clean things up,” Flowers said.
“We had our moments of throwing the ball away again,” Kalivas said. “But in the end I thought the last couple minutes Nia did a really nice job of showing composure, getting the ball in her hands, settling down the offense and working for some good layups.”
Bartlett junior guard Ally Giampapa did her best to give the visitors a chance to win with 18 points, 7 steals and 4 rebounds.
After Metea’s early 11-0 run produced a 13-4 lead, Giampapa stopped the drought with a 12-foot jumper and a driving layup.
With 3:43 left in the third, Giampapa’s 15-foot baseline jumper off Ashley Johnson’s inbounds pass gave the Hawks a 28-27 edge — their first lead since 3-2.
Petersen answered with a layup and Bria Walker swished a 17-footer to regain the lead for Metea.
Giampapa’s steal and driving lefty layup pulled Bartlett within 35-32 at the 7:31 mark of the fourth quarter, but the Hawks didn’t score again until Giampapa hit a 19-footer with 42 seconds left. Bartlett committed 6 of its 21 turnovers between those baskets.
“I can’t put my finger on it,” said Bartlett coach Denise Sarna. “We have spurts like that. And then there comes times where ... we do everything great. And then there’s times when we back off. We lost our composure a little bit in the fourth quarter.
“That happens sometimes when you’re inexperienced. I hate to keep using that because we’re halfway through a season now, but it still shows sometimes.”Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.