BELLEVILLE — Known as one of the top offensive players in the Southwestern Conference, Belleville East senior Montira Mosby stepped up again Wednesday, this time with her defense.
Mosby blocked a potential game-winning shot by Jasmine Bonds of O'Fallon with under three seconds remaining as the Lancers held on for a 36-35 win.
With East holding a one-point lead with 6.7 seconds remaining, Mosby missed the front ended of a one-and-one.
Bonds grabbed the rebound and dashed up the center of the court. Cleanly beating her defender, Bonds took the ball down the lane but her shot was blocked by Mosby.
The ball bounced to O'Fallon's Ciara Jones, who saw her 10-foot jumper go off the rim as the final buzzer sounded.
"We were a little sluggish and struggled on the offensive end of the court tonight, but I was very pleased with our defense,'' Lancers coach Andrea Seipp said. "This team seems to have a knack of finding ways to win.
"We made plays last night down the stretch in a tight game when we needed too and we did it again tonight.''
Displaying a powerful low post game, the 5-foot, 11-inch Mosby led the way for East (5-2, 2-0 in the SWC), which has won five straight after an 0-2 start.
Senior guard Brynesha Mosby added four fourth-quarter points and the Lancers also got a pair of crucial jumpers to fall from senior Ryley Blomberg, as their strong early season play continued.
East trailed by as many as six points in the first half, but with Montira Mosby scoring seven points and Blomberg hitting a long-range jumper, the Lancers took a 30-28 lead into the final period.
Jones, who along with Ally Warren paced O'Fallon with 10 points each, tied the game at 30 in the opening minute of the final quarter.
Neither team led by more than two points the rest of the way.
Twice Montira Mosby missed a chance to extend the Lancers lead at the foul line.
But O'Fallon (2-2, 0-2) couldn't take advantage of its chances.
"It's pretty simple. We just couldn't make any shots. (East) coach Andrea (Seipp) did a good job of playing zone against us. But we had chances. We just couldn't knock them down,'' Panthers coach Ryan Massey said. "But I am extremely proud of the effort and determination my girls showed tonight.
"We've certainly got a lot of work to do. But I loved how hard those young ladies played tonight.''
As was Seipp who has noticed a major difference in her 2013-14 Lancers squad so far.
"I'd have to say the difference is our team chemistry. Our four seniors have played together all the way through from junior high to now,'' Seipp said. "It's a very close knit group and you can see it with the way they talk and coach each other on the court.''