ROCK FALLS – The Mendota Trojans seized the momentum right before halftime, and there was nothing the Rock Falls Rockets could do about it.
The Trojans scored the final five points of the first half and the first eight of the third period en route to a 46-32 Big Northern West victory at Tabor Gym in the regular-season finale for both teams.
Mendota (17-10, 6-6) trailed 24-16 late in the second quarter. It outscored Rock Falls 25-8 after halftime, with the Rockets (12-15, 5-7) shooting 3-for-16 from the field (18.8 percent) and turning the ball over 12 times.
"We didn't have too many people who looked like they wanted the ball in their hands tonight," Rock Falls coach Craig Mammosser. "Everything we did on offense seemed like we were in a hurry to get away from their defense instead of attack it. We looked slow and out of sorts, and Mendota took advantage of it."
A three-point play at the halftime buzzer by sophomore Brook Carroll (7 points, 5 rebounds) seemed to spark the Trojans. Mendota committed just six of its 20 turnovers in the second half, hit eight of its 12 free throws, and seemed to capitalize every time the Rockets made a mistake or missed a shot.
"The first half, I think we were a little intimidated by them being a more physical team than we are," Mendita coach Kevin Geldon said. "But we really toughened up in the second half, stopped playing tentative and started finishing plays and hitting shots that we were missing in the first half."
The Bromenshenkel sisters, sophomores Ally (13 points, 10 rebounds) and Abby (10 points, 5 rebounds), accounted for 18 of the Trojans' 25 second-half points, and Abby assisted on Karly Near's 3-pointer – a shot that followed Ally's three-point play and capped Mendota's 13-0 run spanning halftime.
But the other half of the formula was on the defensive end. Switching between man-to-man and zone, Mendota held the Rockets scoreless for the final 2:32 of the first half and the first 6:22 of the second half to turn a 24-16 deficit into a 29-24 lead.
"We just turned up the pressure and limited them getting the ball into the post," Ally Bromenshenkel said. "Our game plan was to not let them pass the ball around easily, and we did a lot better job of that in the second half."
Rock Falls battled to within two (32-30), as Morgan Mammosser hit a pair of free throws and Julie Dodd scored on a putback to close the third period, then Mammosser found an open Linsey Brown for a long two from the left corner with 5:11 left in the fourth.
But Mendota answered emphatically, as Abby Bromenshenkel stole a pass and went coast-to-coast for a layup to ignite a 14-2 run over the game's final 4:57.
"We never got things going our away again after their run around halftime," coach Mammosser said. "We couldn't knock down shots, and they were hitting – and when they weren't, their offensive rebounding killed us. We only scored four points in the third quarter and four in the fourth quarter, and that's not going to win you too many games."
Morgan Mammosser had 14 points and three assists, while also adding four rebounds and three steals. Jordan Giddings chipped in six points and had seven rebounds, four steals and four blocks.
Mendota 46, Rock Falls 32
Star of the game: Ally Bromenshenkel, Mendota, 13 points, 10 rebounds, 3 steals, 2 blocks
Key performers: Morgan Mammosser, RF, 14 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals; Jordan Giddings, RF, 6 points, 7 rebounds, 4 steals, 4 blocks; Amy Devitt, Mendota, 10 points, 6 rebounds, 5 steals; Abby Bromenshenkel, Mendota, 10 points, 5 rebounds
Up next: Class 3A Sterling Regional semifinal, Rock Falls vs. Sterling, 8 p.m. Tuesday