Luis Pérez Lerchundi
The Maple Leafs suffered their second loss of the conference on Saturday afternoon. Goshen College played against Huntington University, ranked 18th in the conference, at the Platt Arena. The Huntington Foresters used a late first-half surge to defeat the Maple Leafs 79-64.
The two teams traded baskets and possession of the lead throughout the first half. Goshen led at three different points in the first half, but with six minutes remaining in the first frame, Huntington began to find its rhythm on both ends of the court. The Foresters paired their defense, which only gave up 3 points during those six minutes, with a strong twenty-point output to expand their lead to fifteen at the half. The Foresters’ first half was crucial, as the two teams each scored 33 points in the final twenty minutes.
The Maple Leafs leading scorer was Keshia Ward, who recorded her fifth double-double of the season by scoring a team-high 17 points and collecting 11 rebounds, and Liz Tecca’s 14 points. Junior player Ward was named Crossroads League Co-Player of the Week.
Forester Miranda Palmer, led Huntington’s attack by tallying 31 points in the game.
“We had some really good moments and runs in the game, but we couldn’t string enough together to stay within striking distance,” said Goshen head coach Stephanie Miller. “It’s hard to complete a comeback on the road against a ranked team when they are hitting 50 percent from the floor and 90 percent from the charity stripe.” She also said, “Give Huntington credit, they are a very disciplined team and are hard to beat in their building.”
Junior player, Liz Tecca, said, “The game at Huntington didn’t go as planned. They shot the lights out and we didn’t make adjustments quickly enough to accommodate that.”
After the team went undefeated all of December, the goal for the New Year is “to pick up some more conference wins and make the conference tournament,” Tecca said. “From there, the sky’s the limit,” she added.
Last year, the Maple Leafs got one conference win while this year they already have won four Crossroads League games. Tecca said that the biggest difference between this year and last is the team’s maturity. “We are more prepared and confident in certain situations because we’ve been there before,” she said.
The Maple Leafs (13-5, 4-2) entered the game with thirteen wins, a statistic only sixteen other teams in NAIA Division II can boast.
The Maple Leafs also looked to secure a conference home win last night against Mount Vernon Nazarene at 7:00 p.m. The next game will be on the road on Saturday against Taylor University.