Mustangs fall to Washington County in regional semifinal

Published 3:00 pm Friday, February 18, 2022

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By Carey Reeder | Staff Writer

The Isabella High School girls’ magical run in the state basketball playoffs fell short on Friday afternoon in Montgomery.  The Mustangs fell to Washington County 67-36 in the AHSAA Class 2A southwest regional semifinal. Sadie Simon led Isabella with nine points, and grabbed a game-high 16 rebounds. Turnovers were the Mustangs demise piling up 31 at the Cramton Bowl Multiplex.

“I’m very proud of them, I told them after the game the three teams we had to beat to get here was a very big deal,” Isabella head coach Jared Day said. “What they did to get here… I’m just so proud of these girls.”

Isabella jumped out to a quick 6-1 lead to start the game. Washington County began pressing near the end of the quarter which gave the Mustangs some trouble. Makayla Logan knocked down a corner three at the end of the quarter to shrink the deficit to 14-13 after the first.

Logan put in seven points and grabbed 10 rebounds.

In the second quarter, the Bulldogs jumped on the Mustangs early and often, and the press took its toll. With Amelia Fjeldstad on the bench with two fouls in the first quarter, Washington County started the second on a 12-2 run. Fjeldstad scored eight points.

The Bulldogs piled up 12 seals and forced 19 turnovers out of Isabella in the first half. The Mustangs were outshot 49-to-24 and trailed 35-19 at the break.

“[The physicality] caught us a little off guard,” Day said. “[The referees] were letting them play, we just didn’t play our game and let them control the pace of the game”

Lexi Higgins riffled in a long 3-pointer to open the second half for Isabella. Higgins scored six points and added five rebounds.

For every Mustang bucket in the third quarter, Washington County had an answer with two or three of their own. The lead blossomed to 53-32 after the third quarter.

In the fourth, Day tried to mix in some other girls to earn some time on the floor and reflect upon what was a special season.

Isabella will lose only two seniors to graduation; Simon and Gracie Fjeldstad, and will return four starters and eight players total for next year. Day hopes this experience will benefit his returning players, and give them confidence heading into next season.

“I’m going to miss my seniors, they’ve been really big for us since eighth grade,” Day said. “We’re going to get to work, and there is no reason why we can’t get right back here. But, we’re not satisfied with here, we want to take that next step, and I think we have to ability to do it.”