STOVER — Mallory Uptegrove and Carley Nolting each scored 16 points as the Stover Lady Bulldogs beat Green Ridge 61-42 in the Homecoming game on Friday.
The 5-10 junior and the 6-0 sophomore struggled in the early going, scoring four points between them in the first quarter, but once they got rolling the points just kept coming. In the third quarter alone, the two post players combined for 14 of Stover’s 20 points.
“We did a lot of passing in and out and just a lot of talking,” Nolting said.
In the second half, Stover had luck getting entry passes to Uptegrove on one block who would then find Nolting on the other for the basket.
“It’s always an option,” said Stover coach Ernie Haag. “It depends on how people play you. Mallory’s always good at identifying double teams. She felt the double team so she’s going to pass. When she had the single, she’s going to take it and get fouled or get the shot off. Especially in the second half she was on her game in terms of reading what was there.”
That connection between Uptegrove and Nolting is something the Lady Bulldogs have worked on in practice.
“We try it out in games and it just works,” Nolting said. “We just have that connection.”
Guarding Stover’s two bigs for the Lady Tigers were 5-10 sophomore Katie Gibbs and 5-8 senior Katie Swearngin.
“For us, being 5-7, it’s tough to guard 6-0 and 5-10 when they know what they’re doing,” said Green Ridge coach Jason Cannon. “They catch and they pass well and they look for each other. They had a good inside-out at times. That brings another level of toughness to get to.”
Stover trailed by one midway through the second quarter before going on an 11-0 run to take the lead for good. Hunter Miesner started the run with a 3-pointer and Kendra King followed with free throws. After Uptegrove hit a basket in the paint and drew a foul, she missed the free throw but King swooped in for the offensive rebound and the putback to make it 22-14. Nolting finished off the run with a basket in the paint.
“We were making shots and we were scoring inside-outside,” Haag said.
In addition to the low-post scoring, Stover got nine points from Jensen Bauer and eight from Miesner.
“It’s good balance and that’s what we’re after,” Haag said.
Unkel led Green Ridge with 13 points.
“Sam does a really good job of getting to the basket,” Cannon said. “Sometimes she gets a little anxious when it’s not coming. What I’m hoping is for her to get a little patient and pick her spots because that will be helpful in the long run. When we space and push the tempo, she does a great job if she can get that first step and get around someone.”
Guarding Unkel and BreAnna Peck took a toll on the Stover defense as Miesner fouled out and Bauer finished the game with four fouls.
“Green Ridge does move really well without the ball and that’s where most of our fouls were, against those two girls,” Haag said. “They were working hard. They’re good players and we had to do some chasing. The good part is when they do drive, we have a 5-10 and a 6-0 girl waiting and they alter shots.”
For all of the first quarter and much of the second, the teams traded the lead back and forth. Green Ridge led early on a layup by Unkel before Stover scored the next four points. A Molly Turner basket, a drive by Unkel and a basket inside by Peck spotted the Lady Tigers a 9-4 lead late int he first before Jensen Bauer hit a 3-pointer to cut the lead to 9-7 Green Ridge after one.
In the second quarter Stover quickly tied the game when Nolting hit a basket inside. Turner put Green Ridge back in front with a layup before Kendra King answered with a layup on the other end. A pair of Madison Brown free throws put Green Ridge ahead 14-13, but that would be the Lady Tigers’ last lead of the game as the Lady Bulldogs went on a run.
“I thought we took good shots and spaced the floor better,” Cannon said. “We were able to get better shots because we were spacing the floor. At times we have trouble spacing the floor. We weren’t in such a hurry. We were able to hold it and pick our poison a little more. Then we kind of got in a hurry and they pushed the pressure up a little bit.”
During the run, Stover forced four Green Ridge turnovers including a steal by Uptegrove who had three steals in the game.
“Stover did a great job of getting to any 50/50 ball,” Cannon said. “We have to have great effort each and every night and we’re getting better and we’re getting more minutes to where we’re playing and we don’t have mental lapses. It’s tough to beat a good team when you have minutes on minutes of lapses.”
In the third quarter, Nolting opened the scoring with a layup and after a basket by Unkel, Miesner had a steal and a layup. Uptegrove then scored on the next three possessions, all second-chance points. Green Ridge cut into the lead with baskets from Unkel and Gibbs before Sammy Vansell hit a jumper to make it 35-26. Nolting followed that with two more baskets and after another basket from Vansell, Stover led 44-28 after three.
In the fourth quarter the Lady Bulldogs moved to the perimeter where Miesner hit a 3-pointer and Bauer followed with two of her own.
Stover (8-6, 2-1 Kaysinger) will host Tipton at 7:30 p.m. Monday.
Green Ridge (2-13, 0-3 Kaysinger) will host Sacred Heart at 5 p.m. Tuesday.