Midway through the fourth quarter of their Classic in the Country meeting, Salem scored to pull within four after an inadvertent buzzer caused nearly every player on the floor to stop. With players still a bit confused, Bath inbounded and Mauk canned an NBA-ranged 3-pointer at the other end.
The shot seemed to stun the Quakers and Bath pulled away for a 63-48 victory at the Perry Reese Community Center in Berlin.
“I think everybody was confused after that buzzer,” said Mauk, who finished with 20 points to help Bath stay unbeaten through 16 games. “We needed to get it back and get a shot there.”
Bath led 49-43 when Salem (8-6) scored an uncontested basket following the inadvertent buzzer. The Quakers’ Amy Scullion, who made the lay-up, was about the only player on the court not to stop. Her teammates, unfortunately, didn’t get going again in time and Mauk burned them at the other end with a shot from about 4 feet beyond the 3-point arc.
“I get yelled at for it sometimes,” Mauk said of her propensity to launch long-range shots.
“That depends on whether it goes in or not,” chimed in Bath coach Greg Mauk.
There was no yelling this time. The shot started a game-ending 14-3 run.
Big shots aside, the Wildkittens won this game with defense. They shot just 38 percent from the field, making 8 of 30 3-point shots.
But their pressing, trapping defense harassed Salem into 22 turnovers. Despite shooting better than 50 percent, the Quakers simply didn’t have enough quality possessions to keep pace.
“We’re a man down,” Salem coach Jeff Andres said. “Brittney Ritchie has a bad wheel and she couldn’t go tonight. So we could only go about six deep and their pressure definitely got to us a little bit. At times we handled it well and got great looks and at times they caused some havoc. They’re not ranked No. 2 in the state for nothing. They’re a good team.”
The game featured a pair of sister acts, with each team’s siblings doing the most damage.
Mauk’s twin Stefanie led all scorers with 22 points. She also had nine rebounds and three assists. Nicki Hopkins added 10 points for Bath.
Salem got 20 points on 10-of-13 shooting from sophomore Amy Scullion. She also had eight rebounds. Her sister Katie added 14 points and seven boards.
“The Scullion girls are really good,” Greg Mauk said. “Their guard play is probably not where they need it to be. They have to do a lot more than they might have to do on another team. But they’re really good athletes.”
Mauk’s comments were backed up by the fact that each Scullion sister had six turnovers. Despite both being 5-foot-11 or more, they were forced to do a lot of the ballhandling.
Kelly Roelen added 11 points for the Quakers, but Salem players not named Scullion combined to shoot 4 for 15 from the floor.
The game was the latest for the Quakers on a season-long schedule of meetings with top-flight teams. That in mind, their record is a bit misleading.
“I tell the girls, and it’s hard for hem to understand, but the teams we’ve played, we play one of the hardest schedules around,” Andres said. “Am I happy with (our record)? No. I’d like to be 14-0. But we’ve made some progress, it’s a good experience for them and it’s making us better in the long run.”