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Saturday, Apr. 30, 2016

Mount Pleasant Farewell Tour

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Bluebirds sweep Timbo in emotional last home games

It's a cinch that Feb. 7 will not go down as one of the fondest dates in Mount Pleasant history.

On Feb. 7, 1999, Mount Pleasant's then 46-year-old high school gymnasium caught fire and burnt to the ground in less than an hour's time.

Nine years later, on Feb. 7 of this year, the gymnasium that replaced the old one officially hosted the very last home basketball games in the long and rich history of Mount Pleasant High School.

Next season, Mount Pleasant High School, which consolidated with Melbourne a couple of years ago, will see all of its students attending school at the new campus in Melbourne, turning Bluebirds into Bearkatz.

And while there were many tears shed on what was to be the final home stop of the Mount Pleasant Farewell Tour, there were also many smiles, hugs and fond stories told, as Bluebirds past and present gathered to celebrate one final evening of hoops in the beautiful blue-and-white gymnasium.

The large crowd was not only rewarded for their presence with a couple of basketball games, but prizes galore, as well. Jackets, T-shirts, towels and other Bluebirds' souvenirs were tossed into the crowd all night long, and the game balls from both the boys' and girls' games were auctioned off.

Upholding their part of the evening's festivities, the last group of players to be known as Bluebirds and Lady Bluebirds took care of one final order of business -- the Timbo Tigers.

The Lady Bluebirds thumped the Lady Tigers 67-16, while the Bluebirds whipped the Tigers 67-36.

Both Mount Pleasant teams are 20-8 on the season.

Maybe the fact that both home teams scored 67 points apiece on the final night of games at Mount Pleasant was some kind of cosmic gesture, but the fact is the Farewell Tour still has a couple of road stops to make -- the district, regional and who knows, maybe even the state tournament.

A free throw by Caleb Daigle will go down as the last point at home for the Bluebirds.

The Lady Bluebirds wasted little time in getting the packed house at Mount Pleasant to its feet, as the home team was all over Timbo from the get-go.

Putting the defensive pressure on Timbo early and often, the Lady Bluebirds held the Lady Tigers to just six field goals for the game.

Erica Biard (20 points) tossed in the first five points of the night, starting Mount Pleasant on a 19-0 burst to open play. Melissa Martin (18 points) chipped in with a 3-ball and seven points during this spurt, with Niki Edge and Kallie Johnson (four points) logging hoops during the run.

Sage Parish (eight points) ended this burst with a trey that gave Mount Pleasant a 19-0 lead.

The Lady Tigers' only hoop of the first period came with 2:06 left in the frame.

Parish closed the book on the first with her second triple, giving the Lady Bluebirds a 22-2 advantage after one.

The carnage continued in the second.

Sara Adams (four points) hit a jumper and Martin sank a layup to get Mount Pleasant running early in the frame. Then Biard took over and posted six straight points. When the halftime buzzer sounded, Mount Pleasant had held Timbo to four points in the second, extending the Lady Bluebirds' advantage to 32-6 at the half.

Not comfortable with this lead, the Lady Bluebirds hit overdrive in the third.

Martin started an 11-zip run with a layup and trey, while a baseline bucket by Arleigh Qualls (six points) capped the spurt and put Mount Pleasant in front 43-6.

Up 52-13 after three, the Lady Bluebirds maintained the pace in the fourth, thanks to a period-opening 3-ball from Jessica Daigle (five points).

The Lady Tigers managed just one field goal in the final period, with Mount Pleasant cruising to a 67-16 victory in front of an emotional home crowd.

Next, the Bluebirds took center stage for one last go-round at home.

And like the girls before them, the boys of Mount Pleasant hit Timbo hard and never looked back.

Practically super-charged with electricity, Conor Lawrence, Mount Pleasant's freshman flash, was switched on and firing from the opening tap onward.

He buried a pair of early treys, helping the Bluebirds to a 10-2 lead early. Conor Lawrence tossed in a game-high 25 points for the Bluebirds.

Brother Colin was also active in the frame, as he posted all seven of his points in the game in the first eight minutes of action. Turns out this was maybe Colin's last points of the season, as he broke a thumb in the first half and looks to be sidelined the rest of the year.

But it was Conor that racked up the last seven points of the period, pushing Mount Pleasant to a 24-8 advantage after one.

Jordan Hutchins (16 points, 13 boards) got his groove on in the second period, scoring seven points in the stanza to keep the Bluebirds running-and-gunning.

Mount Pleasant held a 40-19 lead at the break, and the Bluebirds jump-started the second half with buckets by Dustin Heiskill (10 points) and Hutchins to keep Timbo back on its heels.

The Tigers did manage to score 10 points in the third period, but Mount Pleasant still held control at 53-29 after three.

This lead proved to be more than enough for the Bluebirds, with Abram Qualls (seven points) adding to the damage by sinking a trey n the fourth period, as Mount Pleasant rolled to a 67-36 victory, one last W at home for the Bluebirds.

Jackson Barber ended the game with one point for Mount Pleasant.

And as the back of one of the many T-shirts commemorating the last home games at Mount Pleasant read -- "Don't cry because it's over ... smile because it happened."

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