The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

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February 6, 2014

Mlachnik's double dip spoiled

CLINTON — Ashford coach Kelly Kruger loved the way his leading scorer played Wednesday. He just wished the Saints would have snapped the four-game losing streak against William Penn.

A slow first half caught up with the Saints as they fell to the Lady Statesmen 61-58.

“We didn’t play early enough to get the win,and that cost us tonight,” Kruger said. “It just seemed like we weren’t there at all, which is disappointing, because that is a very winnable game.

“We just didn’t come out with enough energy,” Kruger said. “We didn’t quit, we kept on playing, but we didn’t turn it on when we needed to. It wasn’t one of our better showings; we didn’t come out with pizzazz.”

Ashford (8-18) nailed just six field goals in the first half, equating to 22 percent shooting while William Penn went 11-for-24 in the first half.

William Penn (10-13) made a 15-3 run that started at the 15:03 mark in the first half when the score was tied at six and lasted nearly 10 minutes. Jess Mlachnik ended the drought with a 3-pointer near the top of the key.

A big factor to that run was how careless Ashford was with the basketball. The Saints attained 12 turnovers in the first half, a telling stat that frustrated Kruger.

“We just didn’t take care of the ball, and it wasn’t like they were applying any pressure. We just didn’t do what we were supposed to do,” he said. “We seemed very loose.”

Ashford then allowed William Penn to extend the lead to 16 as the Lady Statesmen posted a 12-4 run in the first seven minutes of the second half.

However, the Saints had some fight in them, especially Mlachnik.

Mlachnik scored 23 points in the loss, including 10 points in a 32-second span. Ashford scored 12 points in that same run that included a layup by Sarah Vozel off a Mlachnik offensive rebound.

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