MHS girls: 22 12 03 11 — 48
EHS girls: 02 02 10 09 — 23
MHS boys: 09 15 00 14 — 38
EHS boys: 09 13 13 22 — 57
Feb. 9, 2019 — Tuesday night, Mapleton seniors Evan Moso and Erin Michael experienced a rare duality of firsts and lasts: As they took to the floor in the final home game of their Mapleton basketball careers, they were also among the last 15 players to compete on both the old hardwood and newly finished surface completed a few weeks ago.
It was a fitting end to the duo’s many hours spent in the Mapleton gym through practices and games, particularly for Michael, who played both basketball and volleyball for the Sailors.
Also fitting was that, in her last appearance in front of a hometown crowd, Michael and the Lady Sailors walked away with a dominant win — its second against Eddyville this season, and only Mountain West League wins.
In its match-up with the Lady Eagles, Mapleton came out strong, going on a quick 9-0 run that included scoring from Michael, along with freshmen Jahala Blake and Opal Burruss.
The Eagles scored only one basket in the first period as full-court pressure created 7 turnovers that led to scoring from junior Trinity Holmes, as well as Burruss, Blake and Michael — including the first of three 3-pointers from the Mapleton senior.
Leading 22-2 to start the second period, the Sailors opened with a long 3-pointer from Michael and continued to dominate both ends of the court. In the final seconds of the half, Blake made the front end of a 1-and-1 but missed the second shot, only to have freshman Evangelina Spradling nab the rebound and pass it back out to Blake, who sank it for 2 and a 34-4 lead at halftime.
Though the Eagles were able to outscore Mapleton 10-3 in the third quarter, the Sailors came back strong in the final period thanks to play from sophomore Emily Stevens, who came off the bench to score 4 points and create 4 turnovers, along with 7 points from Michael — including another 3-pointer — on the way to a 48-23 win.
Michael led scoring for Mapleton with 22 points. Burruss had 10, Blake had 9, Stevens had 4 and Holmes scored two points against Eddyville.
In the boys’ game, it was a tale of two halves as the Sailors battled with the Eagles point-for-point throughout the first two quarters, then went scoreless in the third period.
“I was very happy with the way we executed in the first half, but we really struggled with their zone defense in the second half,” said Mapleton coach Eric Wolgamott. “We’re young and raw with a lot of potential. We’re still learning to be patient.”
In the first quarter, scoring was limited, with the Eagles leading 4-7 with 1:30 left in the period. A 3-pointer from sophomore Jeremy Bender tied things at 7-7, only to have Eddyville sink a pair of free throws with 26 second remain-ing. As the clock cleared :06, junior Nathan Roane struck from the paint and tied the game at 9-9 heading into the second period.
“We focused on their point guard and shooter, and that worked well,” said Wolgamott.
Freshman forward AJ Moso tied the game at 11-11 early in the quarter, but then the Eagles went on a 9-0 run that left the Sailors trailing 20-11.
Calling a timeout, Wolgamott said he challenged his players to get within 3 points in the two minutes left before the half.
The Sailors met the challenege, then exceeded it.
After a pair of free throws from sophomore JJ Neece and a 3-pointer from Evan Moso, the Sailors closed the gap to 2 points on a jumper from AJ Moso with 52 second remaining.
Evan Moso then struck with another 3-pointer to give Mapleton a 21-20 lead, and Neece completed a 3-point play to go ahead 24-20 with :03 on the clock.
The Eagles landed the final shot of the half, cutting the Sailors' lead to a single basket entering the break, 24-22.
It was in the third period that Eddyville’s adjusted 2-3 zone left the Sailor’s forward momentum in a dead calm, out-scoring Mapleton 13-0 for a 35-24 lead.
“It was disappointing after such a great second quarter, but we came back in the fourth,” said Wolgamott. “If we’d been able to do that in the third period, it would have been a different game.”
Mapleton posted 14 points in the last quarter, but it was far short of overcoming its third-period shutout as Eddyville went on to win, 57-38.
JJ Neece and Evan Moso each had 9 points, with Moso draining a trio of 3-pointers. AJ Moso and junior Nate Neece each had 5 points, Bender had a 3-pointer, and Roane had 2 points.
Tuesday, Mapleton will be on the road at Crow for a rematch with the Cougars. For Mapleton boys, a win would keep them in the running for a post-season appearance and a match-up with either McKenzie or Eddyville on Thursday — with the winner of that game advancing to Saturday's game to determine the third and final seed to state.
A loss either Tuesday or Thursday would end the season for the Sailors.
The Lady Sailors’ season officially ended Thursday night.