PLEASANTVILLE — In the first few minutes of its Class 2A Region 6 postseason game, the Colfax-Mingo girls’ basketball team was hitting shots at one end, limiting Pleasantville to one attempt at the other and handling the Trojans’ press with ease.
Unfortunately, the Trojans got things figured out before the Tigerhawks’ lead reached an insurmountable number.
The Tigerhawks scored the game’s first eight points, but Pleasantville recovered with an 11-0 run of its own and then outscored its visitors 19-12 in the third during a 45-41 victory.
Pleasantville forced Colfax-Mingo into 25 turnovers and the Trojans out-rebounded the Tigerhawks 31-21.
“We are so much more improved from the beginning of the season. If we played them early in the season, I am not sure it’s close,” Colfax-Mingo coach Larry Roberts said. “We stayed after it. We played hard. We made mistakes, but you make the other team make mistakes when you play hard.”
Pleasantville (11-11) led 11-8 after one quarter following its 11-0 run that ended with a 3-pointer and a jumper by senior Corinne Thomas. Thomas came into the game averaging 2.8 points per game but scored a team-high 10.
The Tigerhawks recovered in the second quarter to go back in front. They got back-to-back buckets by senior Ries Wilson and then junior Payton Rhone buried her first 3-pointer of the game to put her team in front 15-11.
The game was tied at 17-all at halftime.
Rhone finished with a game-high 14 points. Wilson added 10 points, six rebounds and five blocks.
“I think we both misjudged each other. We misjudged how quick they were. We needed to just keep shooting over their close outs,” Roberts said. “We surprised them a bit. They probably thought this would be an easy game. We practiced really well the past two weeks, and I thought we had a chance if we played decent.”
The Trojans, who take three wins in their last four games into the next round against conference rival Martensdale-St. Marys, owned the third quarter.
But not until Colfax-Mingo (7-15) took a 22-21 lead following another trey by Rhone and a bucket by senior McKeely Tjaden. Another basket by Tjaden gave the Tigerhawks a 24-23 advantage, but Pleasantville ended the frame with a 13-5 surplus and led by seven after three quarters.
“I felt good at halftime. We didn’t even play that great and were still tied,” Roberts said. “We knew if we could make a few plays early we’d be in a good spot, but our first three possessions of the second half were turnovers. We didn’t even get a shot up.”
The lead hit 10 points for the Trojans after Thomas hit her second 3-pointer during the final stretch of the third. Rhone got the deficit back to single digits when she hit her third trey of the game.
The Tigerhawks didn’t go away despite Pleasantville going up by nine in the fourth. Wilson’s bucket inside and a final 3-pointer by Rhone cut the Trojans’ lead to three.
The two teams played nearly even the rest of the way. Pleasantville banked in two free throws during the final few minutes and made eight more free throws than the Tigerhawks in the game.
“We were able to get it back to one possession after being down by 10. Then the girl banks in a free throw. There’s not much defense for that,” Roberts said. “That’s frustrating, but that’s how the game goes.”
The Tigerhawks hit on 62 percent of their 3-point shots but made 37 percent from inside the arc. Rhone was 4-of-7 from long range, but C-M was 2-of-10 from the free-throw line. Pleasantville hit 10-of-14 from the line.
Trojan senior Kelsee Van Haalen came into the game averaging 16.4 points per game. The Tigerhawks held her to nine, but she got help from her teammates.
The bench trio of Thomas, Kaylie Thomas and Taylor Foley combined for 23 points. That group came in averaging a combined 6.5 points per contest.
Jordan Dursky scored only three points but added 13 rebounds, five assists, five steals and four blocks.
Tjaden scored five of her 12 points in the fourth quarter. Colfax-Mingo won the period 12-9 but it fell four points short at the final horn.
Tjaden also had five rebounds. Junior Colbee Cunningham grabbed six boards and had four steals.
The seven wins by the Tigerhawks this season are the most since joining the South Iowa Cedar League three seasons ago. The four-point loss to Pleasantville was the sixth loss by single digits.
The Tigerhawks, who graduate two seniors in Tjaden and Wilson, had three losses by three points or less.
According to Roberts, if Colfax-Mingo wants to continue to make strides, it starts in the offseason.
“We have to develop a couple more ball handlers,” Roberts said. “We need the girls in the gym in the offseason. I am not saying we have to be in here every day, but they need to be in here some of the time. They need to have a ball in their hands and work on some stuff.
“The offseason is when you get better. Every other team practices the same amount as us during the season. It’s hard to leap over those great teams unless we put in more offseason work.”
Colfax-Mingo 8-9-12-12 — 41
Pleasantville 11-6-19-9 — 45
Colfax-Mingo (FG/3pt-FT-F-TP) — Delaney Underwood 1/1-0-2-3, Payton Rhone 5/4-0-0-14, Ries Wilson 5-0-4-10, Colbee Cunningham 1-0-2-2, McKeely Tjaden 5-2-3-12, Jordan Atwood 0-0-2-0, Camilla Schlosser 0-0-2-0. TOTALS: 17/5-2-15-41.
Pleasantville — Kelsee Van Haalen 4/1-0-5-9, Taylor Clark 0-1-1-1, Madyson Thill 1-0-0-2, Jordan Dursky 1-1-3-3, Sydnee McKinney 3-1-2-7, Corinne Thomas 3/2-2-1-10, Taylor Foley 1-5-1-7, Kaylie Thomas 3-0-1-6. TOTALS: 16/3-10-14-45.