MAYFIELD—Playing on back-to-back nights is never easy, especially when the first of those two games went into double overtime.
Mayfield shrugged off its quick turnaround and used its entire bench to beat visiting Richmond Heights on Thursday, 66-22.
“That was kind of what we stressed last night after the Riverside game,” said Mayfield coach Ryan Looman. “It didn’t matter who we played, we just knew coming off of a double-overtime game we were going to need bodies and to try to get as many people in the game early. We expected them to have some tired legs after last night.”
Six different Wildcats scored in the first quarter as they built an early 18-5 lead.
A 12-2 run in the second left Mayfield in command at halftime, 30-7.
“I was really happy with how the girls stepped up,” Looman said. “We played different combinations of lineups tonight. We got everybody in early and got them into the flow of the game early and I thought that was really important. We wanted to see what they were going to bring defensively and get adjusted to the speed of the game.”
After starting the season 1-5, Mayfield has won eight of its last 10 and extended its winning streak to three straight games.
Part of that is growth and development, but the Wildcats also are settling into a normal routine after taking on all challengers during the early part of the season when so many other schools were shut down or paused due to COVID.
That forced the Wildcats into some nonconference games they normally wouldn’t have scheduled.
“We played some pretty good basketball teams and we started out 1-5, but it was 1-5 against some pretty good basketball teams, teams that were just flat out better than us,” Looman said. “We don’t have to sugarcoat it, they were just better than us. They’re teams that are now undefeated or 10-1 or two losses. I think that took some soul searching for us to figure out who we were but we knew it was going to make us better in the long run. We had to continue to push through those lows and eventually we’d come out on the other side.”
The other side is now as the Wildcats are playing with a lot more confidence than they were early in the season.
Mayfield’s players have been challenged in many ways and on Thursday the Wildcats put it all together.
“One thing I love about our team is that they’re perfectly willing to morph into different roles as the season goes on,” Looman said. “If that meant you were scoring early and now you’ve become more of a distributor or you were depended on for your rebounds early and now you’re depended on for your defense, it’s just that idea of stepping into different roles and embracing the moment and going out there and playing as a team. I thought we did that tonight.”
Ashley Dearden led Mayfield with 20 points. She hit six 3-pointers in the game.
“I’m really proud of Ashley and the run she’s been on,” Looman said. “She didn’t have a great start to the season scoring for us but now she’s been at 16, 17, and 20 points tonight, and she’s still only averaging around 10 because she struggled early on to find her shot. To go out and get six 3s in a game, all on good looks, and she didn’t force anything and let the game come to her, she’s been so much of our defensive game plan in years past, and to see her step up and score now is huge for us.”
Eight other Wildcats scored in the game.
Alex Duncan contributed with 14, Uriah Jennings and Olivia Nicolli both scored seven, Dae’Shawna Harwell added six, Gabby Moore finished with four, Reagan Sovchen and Grace Moran both scored three and Hannah Peterson finished with two points and 10 rebounds. Harwell also pulled down 10 boards.
“That was just the consummate team game there, especially in the second half for us,” Looman said. “I was just really happy with how we played as a team. I think we had a really balanced effort.”
Josephine Gates led Richmond Heights with 11 points.