Seniors Avery Kyburz, Miya Means and Denver Anderson were honored pre-game against MacArthur for 2024 Mt. Zion Girls Basketball Team’s senior night.
By BLAKE FAITH
Powered by a triple-double of 15 points, 12 rebounds, and five steals from Jocelyn Turner and a double-double of 23 points and 12 rebounds from Denver Anderson, the Mt. Zion girls basketball team routed MacArthur 60-22 on senior night last week.
“During the senior introductions, Jocelyn mentioned that she and Denver were the peanut butter and jelly of this program and they are,” Head Coach Steve Marvel said. “They do so many things on both ends of the court that influence games and that’s outstanding. And it was nice for us to have another scorer step up and get to that eight 10 point range. We have not had a lot of consistently, those girls did a great job.” Ella’s always gonna bring high energy. Denver slowed down a little bit after tweaking her ankle there in the third quarter, but I really thought some girls that you may not, it may not show up necessarily in the stats, but I thought Maddie Kendall had a great game, especially early attacking the rim and being aggressive and doing some things. We talked to her about doing that.
Marvel continued. “I thought that Naomi Schmal actually had a good game. Her scoring may not have been as high, but she did some really good things. She had an excellent practice last night. She carried over, I think with some good stuff in the game. And our two seniors also besides Denver, Avery Kyburz and Miya went out there, started all four quarters of the game and really did some nice things in extended minutes that they haven’t seen in this season so far. So I was really proud of their effort too. We just have to take that and have somebody step up in that role like Elli today to give us 8, 10, 12 points every game and we have multiple kids that can do that. Naomi can do it, Maddie can do it, Ella can do it. Addie Rotz can do it, Ava Anderson can do it. We have got those kids that have the capacity and the ability to do that. They just gotta recognize right now we’re in the stretch run right now and it’s time for us to tighten things up to get ready to make a, hopefully a deep postseason run.”
In the first quarter , Miya Means made the assist to Turner at the rim to get her scoring started. Anderson drove to the rim and was fouled and made both free-throws to put the Braves up 4-2.
Defensively, Turner made four blocks alone in the first quarter. The Braves used her blocks to set up their offense as Anderson finished the quarter with 11 points and Turner finished it with 7 points to put the Braves up 28-7 to end the first quarter.
Anderson picked it right back up in the second quarter scoring a layup off a Means’ assist and then grabbed her fifth rebound of the night. Turner then made her fifth block and scored at the rim off a Maddie Kendall assist to put the Braves up 32-10. The Braves finished the half ahead 41-12.
Turner got her 10th block of the game early in the third quarter and the Braves cruised towards a 60-23 win.
The Braves improved to 17-9 overall and 3-3 in Aplo conference play. This week the Braves will face Chatham-Glenwood and Mattoon.
“Glenwood will be an interesting matchup and I’m looking forward to that one,” Coach Marvel said. “We have not fared very well against a couple of the CSS eight teams this year. We Need to redeem ourselves and hopefully we can next Wednesday. Mattoon, they came in and stole one from us here and we had a really good first half defensively. We didn’t have a great second half defensively against them. I’m hoping Emily Maple for them is healed and ready and can play. We hate to see a player of her caliber and her ability being hurt, definitely takes a lot away from them, but we just need to go in and we just need to do what we’ve been doing. Establishing ourselves inside? being patient, not settling for a bunch of threes, being consistent offensively working the ball around and getting that extra pass for a really good look. And I think if we do that, you know, we can close that on a really good run here.”