OAK PARK HEIGHTS — Missed opportunities down the stretch cost the Stillwater girls’ basketball team a chance to win its first game of the season on Saturday as the Ponies fell to Rochester Mayo 42-41 in a nonconference game at Stillwater Area High School.
The Ponies (0-2) led most of the game — and by as many as eight points in the second half — but were unable to overtake the Spartans.
Stillwater missed a free throw that would have tied the game with about a minute remaining, committed a turnover and also gave up an offensive rebound on a missed free throw to help Mayo maintain its narrow lead.
It was a stronger performance than during a season-opening loss to Edina, but frustrating nonetheless.
“We have a lot of inexperienced kids and there was some growth from Game 1 to Game 2, but we’ve still got a lot of work to do,” Ponies coach Gerard Coury said. “We don’t believe in moral victories, we need end results.”
Paige Becker delivered 12 points to lead the Ponies, who led 23-22 at halftime despite Sam Miller sinking a 30-footer at the buzzer for the Spartans. Post player Rachael Doll, despite getting into foul trouble in the second half, led Mayo with 16 points.
Turnovers proved costly for the Ponies, who Coury said are averaging 22 per game.
“We’ve talked about that a lot, valuing the ball and we need to quit giving away opportunities to score,” the coach said.
Rochester Mayo 22 20 — 42
Stillwater 23 18 — 41
Rochester Mayo (pts): Ann Flesher 2, Sam Miller 10, Shelby Stewart 6, Katrina Ruedinger 8 and Rachael Doll 16.
Stillwater: Annie Lauber 5, Larissa Colvin 6, Morgan Tschumperlin 6, Rilee Day 4, Meg Pepera 2, Madeline Weidner 6 and Paige Becker 12.
3-pointers: RM, 4; St, 2.
Free throws: RM, 8-15; St, 7-10.
Fouled out: none.