ALLEMAN – The Murphy twins came through when it mattered most to lead the No. 8 North Polk girls’ basketball team to a 54-47 victory over Prairie City-Monroe Friday at Alleman.
PCM had rallied from a six-point deficit to tie the score at 44-44 on an Alexis Kain jumper with less than three minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. But Miranda Murphy stepped up with a long two-pointer from the top of the key to regain the lead for North Polk, then she converted a nice lob from Maddy Hill into a basket and drew a foul.
Murphy completed the three-point play to push North Polk’s lead to 49-44 with 1:45 left.
"We needed the scores," Murphy said. "(After they tied the score) everyone slowed down a little and took their time. Then I just got the ball and scored."
Courtney VanHouweling kept PCM close with a big 3-pointer with 1:31 left to cut the Comet lead back down to two points. Murphy followed by hitting 1 of 2 free throws to give North Polk a 50-47 lead and then the Comet defense had the biggest stop of the game, forcing a Mustang turnover.
PCM had to foul Megan Murphy with 48 seconds left and she hit both free throws. After another defensive stand, Megan was fouled again with 13 seconds left and she went on to make both to ice the game.
"I knew in order for us to close the deal we had to make free throws," Megan said. "So I stepped up and made them. I just knew they had to go in."
Megan finished with 19 points and Miranda had a game-high 28 to help North Polk improve to 7-2 overall and 6-1 in the Heart of Iowa Conference. The sisters both said it was great to have a competitive conference game to get back into the swing of things after Christmas break.
"It helps our team to get our confidence back after having six days off from basketball," Megan said. "Coming back with a tough game like that – it was a good win."
Megan hit 4 of 7 3-pointers, 5 of 6 foul shots and added five rebounds, three assists and three steals. She teamed up with freshman center Hannah Becker to produce five straight points early in the second half to break a 25-25 tie and give the Comets the momentum heading into the fourth quarter.
Megan broke the tie with a 3-pointer off a feed from Becker and then found Becker inside for a basket to ignite a 7-0 Comet run.
"She’s a tall girl so she’s good at sealing off and she sees the court well," Megan said of Becker. "I was open after my girl collapsed on her, and she found me for a 3-pointer; then she turned around and scored."
Becker ended up with four points, six rebounds and three blocks. Riley Murphy had two points, three rebounds and one block; Rachel Zimmermann finished with one point, five rebounds, three steals and two assists and Hill chipped in seven rebounds and two assists.
VanHouweling and Abbi Gilson did most of the damage for PCM. VanHouweling scored 24 points and Gilson finished with eight for the Mustangs, who fell to 5-4 overall and 4-3 in the HOIC.
North Polk 54, PCM 47
PCM 6 18 10 13 – 47
NP 11 12 19 12 – 54
North Polk (54) – Megan Murphy 5-13 5-6 19, Hannah Becker 2-3 0-0 4, Maddy Hill 0-3 0-0 0, Rachel Scott 0-0 0-0 0, Riley Murphy 1-4 0-0 2, Miranda Murphy 9-18 9-11 28, Rachel Zimmermann 0-4 1-2 1, Rebecca Rimathe 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 17-45 15-19 54. 3-point field goals (5): Me. Murphy 4, Mi. Murphy. Rebounds (31): Hill 7. Assists (8): Me. Murphy 3. Steals (6): Zimmermann 3. Blocks (5): Becker 3.