Story and photos by Chet Piotrowski Jr.
For three quarters, Charleston played toe-to-toe with Mt. Zion.
Then the bottom fell out in the fourth quarter.
Braves’ guard Denver Anderson, dropped 14 of her single-game school-record 37 points in the fourth quarter to power Mt. Zion past the Trojans, 54-39.
Charleston drops to 1-12 and 0-6 in the Apollo while Mt. Zion earned its first conference win in improving to 8-14, 1-5.
“We let some opportunities get away from us,” Charleston girls coach Jeremy Hudson said. “I felt like we had an opportunity in the first half to run away and give us a little bit of a lead built up. Then we had a couple of fouls that were no reason to pick them up.”
“Things like that, and then in the second half their pressure got to us. We started to anticipate what was going to happen instead of reading the defense and gave them some easy opportunities. I felt like our half-court defense did a pretty good job even though they have a really great player in Anderson. Turning the ball over really hurt us and gave them easy opportunities. “
The Trojans, which held a four-point lead with under two minutes in the first quarter, led 11-10 entering the second quarter.
Charleston extended its lead back up to five with about two minutes left in the second quarter before Anderson scored a basket and added two free throws to tie the score with 66 seconds left in the half.
“I think the first half we were definitely ready to go. We had more energy,” junior Delaney Meister said. “In the second quarter, we fell behind. It definitely hurt getting some fouls here and there. Over everything else, I feel like we’ve improved since day one. We just have to keep improving.”
Added Hudson: “I felt like when we got up to five points and had an opportunity to run away with it, we’d pick up a foul and send them to the free throw line and killed our momentum. We played well on the defensive end.”
Mt. Zion limited Charleston to just 17 second-half points while Anderson continued to drive to the basket. The sophomore scored 14 of Mt. Zion’s 18 fourth-quarter points as the Braves held Charleston scoreless for long stretches – two minutes and three minutes, respectively.
“She’s (Anderson) very talented. I’ll give her that.” Meister said. “She drove to the basket a couple times. That was her main move that she goes to a lot.”
Charleston sophomore Allason Logsdon, who led the Trojans with 14 points, fouled out with a little more than two minutes left to play all, but preventing any chance of a Trojan comeback.
Meister said his players improved their rebounding, but they still need to be more confident handling the ball. “I feel like we can clean up a little bit of our offense,” he said, “and be more confident bringing the ball up the court.”
In the end, turnovers hurt Charleston more than anything.
“It was a lot more than I’d like,” Hudson said. “I felt like this was a game, if we held our turnovers to around 12 or 13, we’d probably win. I don’t know what the number is, but it’s definitely a concern.”
After the game, the message to the players was ‘keep improving’.
“I’m really proud of this group from where they started to where we are now,” Hudson said. “We’ve come leaps and bounds. It’s about coming in every day and getting better.”
CHARLESTON – Long 1 0-0 2, Meister 3 0-1 6, Addason Logsdon 3 0-2 9, Allason Logsdon 6 2-3 14, Campbell 3 2-2 8. Totals: 16 4-8 3-pointers: Allason Logsdon 3.
MT. ZION – Becker 2 2-2 6, Fleming 0 2-8 2, Sommer 1 1-3 3, Barnes 1 4-6 6, Anderson 9 17-21 37. Totals: 13 26-40 54 3-pointers: Anderson 2.