Malden girls basketball team lets halftime lead slip away against Kelly
MALDEN, Mo. - The Malden Green Wave varsity girls basketball team enjoyed an electric second quarter but still came up short in its bid to pick up its first win of the season Wednesday night against the Kelly Hawks.
Malden outscored Kelly 22-12 in the second period and entered halftime with a 28-20 lead.
Things changed quickly after halftime. Kelly (2-0) opened the second half on a 10-2 run to tie things up at 30-30 by the 5:01 mark of the third period.
The success continued for the Hawks the rest of the way. Kelly moved ahead 36-34 by the end of the third quarter and outscored Malden 20-12 in the fourth period on its way to a 56-48 road victory.
“We didn’t guard the paint,” Malden coach Josh Herring said of the second half. “They drove in the paint at will. It’s just one of those things we are going to have to work on. It’s a new defense and a new style for them. We are just inexperienced in it. The only thing we can do from here is get better in it.”
A big part of the Green Wave’s defensive challenge was stoping Kelly forward Alaney Moore. The freshman talent recorded 26 of her team-high 30 points after halftime.
“She did a fantastic job,” Kelly coach Darrin Pruitt said. “She managed to rebound the ball going straight up without fouling. That’s what we are trying to preach at Kelly is to not foul as much.
Herring added: “She did a remarkable job. She scored and we didn’t. Our lack of knowledge and experience of our defense hurt us. Hopefully, we can get better and maybe by February we will have our defense fine-tuned.”
Neither team scored much in the opening quarter. Malden led 4-0 with four minutes left in the first quarter before Kelly narrowed the margin to 8-6 by the start of the second period.
Malden seniors Lana Reed and Jada Criglar jump-started their team’s offense with multiple transition lay-ups off of turnovers in the second period. Criglar tallied eight of her 10 points in the second period and Reed recorded six of her team-high 24 points in the second quarter.
Malden senior Aylexus Leshay also knocked down both of the Green Wave’s 3-pointers in the second period.
“Our offense was a well-oiled machine in that second quarter,” Herring said. “Then we came out in the second half and shots just didn’t fall. That’s the difference between an eight-point lead and eight-point loss. We shot a low percentage in the second half and it killed us.”
Kelly opened the fourth period on a 10-2 run to increase its lead to double digits at 46-36 with 5:30 remaining in regulation. The Hawks increased its advantage as large as 52-38 with 3:41 left in the fourth quarter before Malden narrowed the margin to the final score.
“Malden is a great team,” Pruitt said. “They play tough defense and want to get their points off turnovers. We didn’t want to give that to them. You have to put the ball in the right person’s hands and make passes. We want to make short passes all the time. The less time the ball spends in the air the less time the other team has to get it.”
Notes: Malden visits Hayti Thursday.
Kelly 56, Malden 48
KHS 8 12 16 20 - 56
MHS 6 22 6 14 - 48
KELLY (56) - Allison Owens 4, Alaney Moore 30, Marissa Worth 8, Hailey Noon 8, Adison Musgrave 4, Kate Hughes 2. FG 23, FT 8/16, F 14. (3-pointers: Moore 1, Owens 1; Fouled out: None).
MALDEN (48) - Aylexus Leshay 6, Madison Mittag 6, Lana Reed 24, Jada Criglar 10, Macy Walker 2. FG 23, FT 0/7, F 18. (3-pointers: Leshay 2; Fouled out: None).