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Strycker scores 17, makes all-tourney team, but North Montgomery beats Pioneer in Kitchen Classic 3rd-place game


Sports Editor, RTC

Pioneer junior guard Makenna Strycker was selected for the all-Indiana Kitchen Classic team. She scored a team-high 17 points in a 44-38 loss to North Montgomery in the third-place game on Dec. 23.

DELPHI — Makenna Strycker scored 17 points, and Mia McKaig added nine points and seven rebounds, but the Pioneer girls basketball team fell to North Montgomery 44-38 in the third-place game of the Indiana Kitchen Classic at Oracle Arena on Dec. 23.

Pioneer went on a 9-1 run in the third quarter to cut what had been a 10-point deficit down to 28-26 on two free throws from freshman guard Jocelyn Kain with 1:45 left in the third quarter.

But Macee Norman knocked down two free throws 12 seconds later to restore the lead to four, and Pioneer never got closer. The lead would reach 10 again in the final minute of the game.

Pioneer lost despite forcing 28 turnovers while committing only 10 themselves.

“We definitely let some opportunities slip away,” Pioneer coach Adam Berry said. “We thought that we could stay aggressive the whole game, and that’s exactly what we wanted to do. We wanted to get them into a lot of situations where they would turn the ball over. However, early on, we didn't capitalize. We had a lot of unforced turnovers ourselves early on, and we couldn’t just build that big lead like we did against Frankfort (in the first round on Dec. 18). There were times in our press where we didn’t get our rotations, and they got some easy buckets.”

Norman led North Montgomery with 23 points, and junior point forward Pipeer Ramey had 11 points and 20 rebounds before fouling out with 17.8 seconds left.

North Montgomery, who won only three games last year, improved to 8-8. Pioneer fell to 4-10.

Strycker and Norman were selected for the all-tournament team.

Strycker scored all seven Pioneer points in the second quarter as the Lady Panthers erased an early four-point deficit and took a 16-13 lead.

But Strycker’s free throw with 4:34 left in the half turned out to be Pioneer’s last point for nearly six-and-a-half minutes. North Montgomery would take the lead for good on Ella McManomy’s 3-pointer from the right corner with 32 seconds left in the half.

Ramey added two free throws with 11.9 seconds left to stretch the halftime margin to five.

Freshman Caelyn Carpenter drew the defensive assignment on Strycker, Pioneer’s junior lead guard.

“She's a freshman for us, and she has embraced that role for us defensively locking down other teams’ best players,” North Montgomery coach Ryan Nuppnau said of Carpenter. “She’s a good offensive threat. She understands the game and has got a nice shot. … That was big for us to limit (Strycker). She’s a good player. She exceeded her average today, but still, we forced her to do a lot of tough shots.”

Berry said that teammates needed to help Strycker out once she started facing Carpenter’s defense.

“That’s just where we need to cut that much harder and move that much quicker to help her out some,” Berry said.

Pioneer’s rally started with a 3-pointer from McKaig and a transition layup from McKaig off a turnover that cut the lead to 27-22.

Ramey split a pair of free throws, but Strycker hit a pullup from the right baseline, and Kain immediately stole the inbounds pass and was fouled and hit two free throws.

Pioneer started the tournament with a 48-14 win over Frankfort on Dec. 18 in the first round before falling to Delphi 55-44 in the semifinals on Dec. 19.

North Montgomery 44, Pioneer 38

PIONEER (38) (4-10)

Makenna Strycker 6 4-8 17, Mia McKaig 3 2-2 9, Loia Layer 0 2-4 2, Kynzie Hathaway 2 0-0 4, Julia McGrew 0 0-0 0, Casey Webb 0 0-0 0, Jocelyn Kain 1 4-5 6, Hannah Zeigler 0 0-0 0

TEAM: 12 12-19 38


Madysen Holt 0 0-0 0, Blair Nichols 0 0-0 0, Caelyn Carpenter 2 3-6 7, Piper Ramey 3 5-6 11, Macee Norman 6 11-14 23, Ella McManomy 1 0-0 3, Krestyn Bradford 0 0-0 0

TEAM: 12 19-26 44

Three-point field goals:

Pioneer 2 (Strycker, McKaig),

North Montgomery 1 (McManomy)

Total fouls: Pioneer 18, North Montgomery 13

Fouled out: Ramey (NMNT), :17.8, fourth

Turnovers: Pioneer 10, North Montgomery 28

Score by quarters

Pioneer 9 7 11 11 38

North Montgomery 9 12 9 14 44

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