By ROB JONAS
SCHENECTADY – Mekeel Christian Academy scored the first 15 points of the game and then had to fend off several challenges before pulling away for a 49-31 victory over Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons Friday, Dec. 14, in a Western Athletic Conference girls basketball game.
ND-BG made several attempts to get the deficit below 10 points before Mekeel Christian sealed the victory by closing the game on an 8-0 run in the fourth quarter.
“They came out flat in the first quarter, but then they had a lot of energy in the second and third quarters,” Mekeel Christian head coach Kelsey Collins said of ND-BG.
Jill Ballard helped get Mekeel Christian’s offense going with a pair of three-pointers during the Lions’ opening run. When ND-BG focused its attention on Ballard, seventh-grader Avery Mills stepped up by hitting a pair of threes in the second quarter to give Mekeel Christian (3-0 league, 3-2 overall) a 23-5 lead.
ND-BG would not let the game get out of hand, though. The Golden Knights pecked away at the deficit until they got it down to nine points with 2:03 left in the second quarter. Ballard, though, drained a three-pointer with three seconds remaining before halftime to put Mekeel Christian ahead 26-14.
The rest of the game followed a similar pattern. ND-BG trimmed the deficit to 10 points on several occasions in the second half, only to see Mekeel Christian hit a big shot to maintain a comfortable margin. Madison Show played a large role in the Lions’ second half offense, as she made five three-pointers to finish with a game-high 18 points.
“Madison shot the lights out to put us in control,” said Collins.
Abby Kienzle had 11 points, and Ava Megyeri chipped in with seven points for ND-BG, which slipped to 5-3 (1-3 league) after winning its first four games of the season.
“I have 12 girls I feel very confident that I can play every night,” said ND-BG head coach Pat Moran.