HOLMEN — The Melrose-Mindoro High School girls basketball team found itself in a dogfight on Monday night against Holmen, and nothing symbolized the Mustangs’ effort more than the sizeable goose egg on the forehead of sophomore Calette Lockington after the game.
The point guard watched the closing minutes of Melrose-Mindoro’s 73-62 nonconference victory over the Vikings from the bench as trainers looked at her head, but the work that Lockington put in over the bulk of the contest was more than enough to help guide the second-ranked Mustangs to yet another victory, improving to 17-0 with the win.
“I couldn’t ask for a better point guard to run my offense,” Melrose-Mindoro coach Joey Arneson said. “She is so even-keeled. It doesn’t matter the situation. There’s no too big of a moment for her. That’s what you want running your team, and she does a fantastic job. She really sets up a lot of our scoring in our offense.”
Lockington doesn’t need to shoulder the brunt of the scoring load, with four other Mustangs averaging in double-figures, but she’s more than capable of doing so. The 5-foot-8 guard scored a season-high 18 points in Melrose-Mindoro’s win against Holmen, and has scored nine points in 15 of the Mustangs’ 17 contests.
With the team’s perfect record in limbo against the Vikings — at least for a while, as Melrose-Mindoro trailed by two points at halftime — it was Lockington who helped regain the balance for the Mustangs and find the rhythm that they had been lacking in the first half.
Lockington scored eight seconds into the second half to tie the contest, and then helped to facilitate a 17-4 run to shift the balance in the favor of Melrose-Mindoro in what was a physical, back-and-forth game.
“It just made us see how well we could do and see how well we can work together,” Lockington said of the second half against Holmen. “We just needed to communicate together and it worked well.”
In a starting lineup that features two other sophomores and two juniors, there may be growing pains, but more often than not, as evidenced by a 41-1 record over the past two seasons, things seem to be working out for the Mustangs.
“I feel like there’s a lot of times when we’re on each other, saying ‘don’t get frustrated’ and ‘keep your head up’ but that’s just what we do,” Lockington said. “We knew we just had to show up. We couldn’t give up, we’re still in it. We just had to keep working.”
Whether it’s a big game or a blowout — Melrose-Mindoro has found itself in plenty of each this season — Arneson said that Lockington remains the same steady presence, even as an underclassmen.
“You don’t know if she’s up or down,” Arneson said of Lockington. “She’s always got a straight look on her face. She always rises for the big games.”
Arneson singled out Melrose-Mindoro’s regional final win against Cochrane-Fountain City a season ago, scoring a team-high 14 points as a freshman in a hard-fought 45-42 win.
“She’s a gamer, and she loves the spotlight, but if you looked at her face, you’d never know if she’s excited or if she’s upset,” Arneson said. “She’s a true basketball player all the way around.”