Mathews overcomes Grand Valley for road victory

ORWELL – The Grand Valley and Mathews girls basketball teams did a good job filling up stat sheets on Thursday night during Mathews’ 62-59 victory.

Looking at the numbers, there were plenty that caught attention. As a plus for Grand Valley (12-7, 3-6 Northeastern Athletic Conference) it grabbed a whopping 43 rebounds during the game.

This was helped by two players garnering double-digit boards with Chris Futty pulling in a game-high 12 rebounds, Jess Vormelker getting 10 herself and Kelly Preske grabbing nine.

Mathews (8-6, 5-4) didn’t slouch on rebounding either grabbing 28 themselves. Natalie Halavick led the team with seven, Jacki Rhine had six and Maddie Williams added five.

And those are just the rebounding numbers. The teams took a combined 121 shots – Grand Valley 63 and Mathews 58. Mathews edged Grand Valley on shooting percentage – 34.5 percent to 33.3 percent. Grand Valley made more 3s with three, despite taking far less attempts, while Mathews only made two out of 19 attempts beyond the arc.

Mathews shot a solid 60.6 percent from the free-throw line. Tess Dickerson was 14 of 18, scoring all but two of her points from the charity stripe.

Grand Valley went 14 of 24 from the free-throw line, including Futty going 7 for 11.

In addition to being a statistic fest of numbers, it also was a rollercoaster of a game. In the first quarter, it was all Grand Valley, executing a speedy offense based around breakaway, wide-open points at its end of the floor, beating Mathews 18-11 after the first quarter. Futty scored 14 of her points in the first.

“We’ve been outta school, one practice since our last game last Saturday, so I told them the importance of coming out strong, ready to go, (and they did) a pretty good job,” Grand Valley coach Kim Triskett said.

As for Mathews, it was needing a wake up call, which was received after the first quarter.

“This is only our fourth game in January, (we) needed to fix the mental mistakes,” Mathews coach Veronica Titus said. “We needed to wake up, and we would probably pull ahead.”

By the fourth quarter, the game was tied at 48 with 4:42 left to play. Mathews started working faster on offense, and the defense upped its pressure. Grand Valley hustled to the very end trying to make some huge shots, but in the end Mathews held on for the road win.

“Both teams were so evenly matched, they were getting the ball in. Just seemed to go one way (or the other),” Titus said.

Rhine led the way for Mathews with a team-high 18 points. Williams scored 14 points and Dayna Ellis added eight for Mathews.

Futty led the way for Grand Valley with 23 points and game high 12 rebounds.