Derrick Webb, Staff Writer
WILLIAMSPORT — When Westfall’s Mahaley Farmer heard what her final stat line was Thursday night, her response was simply, “Really? I had no idea.”
That’s not surprising, considering the type of personality that Farmer has.
She’s easygoing, she’s the perfect teammate, and she always gives others credit when it’s due. But on Thursday, whether she liked it or not, the spotlight shone directly on her.
Her 17 points, 12 rebounds, eight steals and five assists led the Mustangs (5-7, 3-4 SVC) to a 59-48 win over Piketon in conference play, one that provides much-needed momentum going forward.
Farmer said the key to her big night was a yearning for a bounce-back performance after the team’s 59-45 loss to Huntington this past Tuesday.
“Just coming off the Huntington game, I wasn’t hot. So I just figured I needed to get more into the game,” Farmer said. “My teammates really helped me with that, giving me the opportunity to score my points and get my rebounds. It was just about being there for them.”
She was indeed there, time and time again.
But, if you’ve followed Westfall this season, you know that’s nothing new.
“Mahaley gives you something you can’t count on. She’s going to give you one-hundred percent the entire game,” Westfall coach Zane Miller said. “She’s going to battle, get rebounds, pass out assists … she’s a very selfless player and loves to get her teammates involved. She definitely does a lot of things for us to keep us in the game.”
Miller said the team’s focus coming into Thursday’s contest was on the defensive side of the ball. The Mustangs held Piketon to under 10 points in the first and third quarters while causing turnovers and scoring in transition.
“We came into today emphasizing defense,” Miller said. “We wanted to come out there, contain the ball, and play the best defense we could for four quarters. We’ve had problems scoring the ball this season, but I think when we focused away from that, it took care of itself. It got us into positions that are best for the girls, out in transition and in the open court.”
Out of the gate, Westfall took a 9-2 lead and used a 9-0 run to do so. Gabby Patete and Farmer combined for all nine of those points before Piketon made a run of its own. Behind Kennedy Jenkins and Jazz Lamerson, the Redstreaks managed to cut the lead to 12-8 heading into the second.
That’s when Bailey Vulgamore decided to make her presence known.
The freshman sharp-shooter gave the Redstreaks a 13-12 lead with 7:29 to go before nailing a second consecutive 3 at the 6:22 mark, extending the lead to 16-12.
However, the Mustangs recovered as Farmer put them on top 17-16 with 3:54 remaining. From there, both teams traded punches before heading into halftime tied 23-23.
Out of the break, Westfall created separation. Using a 9-1 run to start the third, the Mustangs seized a 32-24 lead and later extended it to 41-29 when Kylee Henry nailed down a triple.
That double-digit lead would stay intact for much of the fourth quarter as Westfall put the finishing touches on its fifth win this year.
“Piketon is a well-coached team,” Miller said. “They start four freshmen and they have a bright future ahead of them. I think that third quarter, we scored the first basket and our experience kind of took over. We’re used to being in close games. We’ve been there and done that. We know when it’s time to put the ball in the basket and clamp down on defense.”
After Farmer’s jam-packed stat line, Patete finished with 15 points while Marcy Dudgeon added 10 points and six rebounds. Henry also helped, ending the night with nine points, while Marissa Mullins had six points and eight boards.
For Piketon, Vulgamore led the team with 17 points, including four 3-point field goals. Jenkins added 10 points and seven rebounds, and Lamerson had seven points, six boards and five assists.
The Redstreaks will look to bounce back on Tuesday, traveling to Southeastern.
Up next for Westfall is two tough games in conference play next week. On Tuesday, the Mustangs host Adena before traveling to Southeastern on Thursday.
“It’s two tough games that I think we’re capable of winning,” Miller said. “If we’re playing well and doing the things we need to do, we don’t have to worry about the other team. We’re good enough to win those games.”
Piketon: 8-15-8-17 — 48
Westfall: 12-11-18-18 — 59
Piketon: 20-59 FG, 2-8 FT, 6-16 3 pt., 34 rebounds (Risner 10), 22 turnovers, 15 assists (Lamerson 5). Scoring: Vulgamore 17, Jenkins 10, Lamerson 7, Risner 6, Johnson 5, Little 3.
Westfall: 23-56 FG, 11-17 FT, 2-10 3 pt., 34 rebounds (Farmer 12), 17 turnovers, 10 assists (Farmer 5). Scoring: Farmer 17, Patete 15, Dudgeon 10, Henry 9, Mullins 6, Kitchen 2.