VALLEY CENTER—In a game punctuated by poor offensive performances on both sides, the Maize South High School girls visited Valley Center on Tuesday and edged the Hornets 28-25.
Maize South basketball coach Mike Domnick said he wasn’t surprised by the Mavericks’ offensive woes because they had not shot well in their past few games. However, he was pleased that they beat an opponent with more height and experience.
Valley Center led 10-7 at the end of the first quarter. However, the home team scored only two points to Maize South’s five in the second quarter. The teams were tied 12-12 at halftime.
The third-quarter productivity wasn’t much better. The Mavericks outscored Valley Center 6-4 to take an 18-16 advantage into the final stanza.
“Mariah (Suchan), our leading scorer, had one of our coldest nights ever,” said Domnick.
The 6-foot junior led Maize South in scoring Tuesday but did not reach double figures. Suchan played with four fouls in the fourth quarter.
“We have no one else physically who can match up inside,” Domnick remarked.
Although Maize South pushed its lead to five, 23-18, Valley Center seniors Madison Wedekind and Taylor Johnson combined to score five unanswered points. Suchan picked up a bucket, but Johnson’s basket again knotted the score, 25-25. Maize South called for timeout with 1:11 remaining in the contest.
After the break, junior Taylor Mannis drained a three-pointer that gave Maize South a 28-25 lead. The Hornets briefly regained possession, but a Maize South steal forced them to begin fouling. The first few times simply resulted in Maverick players completing inbounds passes. Finally, with nine seconds remaining in the game, Suchan missed the front end of a one-and-one.
Valley Center senior Meagan Williams secured possession and the Hornets used a timeout at the eight-second mark. When they attempted to pass the ball inbounds, Suchan stole it and again was fouled. She missed her free throw with six seconds left, rebounded the ball but missed a field-goal attempt.
Valley Center’s final possession was short-lived because a long pass sailed out of bounds and the buzzer sounded.
Domnick said Maize South’s goal Tuesday was to slow down the Hornets and make them think about how they could attack the Mavericks’ zone. He explained that Maize South had used zone defense just occasionally this season.
Domnick also commended Mannis for her late three-pointer, especially since her previous shot was an airball. He described her as a good perimeter shooter.
“For us to be a good team, she’s got to do that,” he continued. “Mariah’s got to defend when she’s not scoring. … They’ve all got to play a role.”
Suchan scored a game-high nine points. Wedekind anchored Valley Center with eight.