Midlakes hands PY Mustang cagers first loss of the season

Gary Pinneo
Mustangs #24 Pat Rivera and #30 Michael Worden work to defend the bucket against the charging Midlakes player.

The Penn Yan Mustangs were hoping for an early Christmas present, a win over a tough Midlakes team that would extend their season opening winning streak to seven and solidify their hold on first place in the Finger Lakes East D-II to two full games over the second place Eagles. 

Also, another win three days before Christmas would assure Penn Yan a perfect record going into the New Year and extend the best start the Penn Yan basketball team has had in years. 

Certainly, a win would have given the Mustang cagers a head start on a wonderful holiday vacation. 

But these yule tide plans were upset, not by a conniving grinch, but by a determined Screaming Eagle. 

Midlakes grabbed control of this ballgame in the first quarter and built up a 42-26 lead after three quarters and then held off a frantic comeback attempt by the hometown Mustangs to win by a score of 57-49.

After a slow start very early in the opening period, Midlakes went on a 18-2 run to pull away from Penn Yan 18-9 after the first eight minutes. 

The Mustangs narrowed the lead to 29-21 at halftime.  The Eagles, on the strength of a 13-5 margin in the third quarter, doubled their lead to 16, 42-26 after three quarters. 

The Orange and Blue tried frantically to get back into the game in the final stanza, but the double digit deficit proved to be too much to overcome.

For the first time this season, the Mustang offense had trouble finding their rthymn. 

Of course, much of this problem was caused by the pressuring Midlakes defense. 

They forced Penn Yan out of their normal offense, forcing them to take a lot of poor shots, especially early in the game. 

Also, the Penn Yan defense, the main reason for their early season success, was tested by the hot shooting Eagles.  The Mustang defense had been holding their opponents to around 40 points per game. 

On Monday, Midlakes was much more successful against the usually stingy Penn Yan defense.  Penn Yan did step up their defensive effort in the fourth quarter forcing seven Midlakes turnovers.  But the game was out of reach by then.

Penn Yan’s senior center James Willson was the top Mustang scorer with 16 points including 10 of 14 from the charity stripe.  He also pulled down 11 rebounds.

Ethan Kamholtz tallied 13 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. Ten of his 13 points came in the fourth quarter.  Adam Stork added 10 points and also dished out 5 assists.

The loss dropped Penn Yan’s record in the Finger Lakes East D-II to 3-1. 

Second place Midlakes pulls to within a half of game of Penn Yan with a 2-1 record.

Penn Yan’s overall record stands at 6-1 as 2008 draws to a close. 

The Mustangs will return to action on Jan. 6 on the road against Wayland-Cohocton in a non-league matchup.  They will return to league action at Pal-Mac on Jan. 9.

While driving to the basket, Penn Yan senior, #23 Ethan Kamholtz gets hammered across the arm by Midlakes #24 Erin Kelly, drawing a foul.