Holton girls basketball can't quite topple Hayden in intense battle
To start the basketball season, the Holton girls were tested on the road against Sabetha (currently ranked second in Class 3A) and coach Jon Holliday and his players didn’t like the results.
Against a similarly tough Hayden team (#6 in 4A-DII) on Monday, host HHS managed a passing grade, but still didn’t quite get the final result it was looking for in a 62-51 loss to the visiting Wildcats.
“I’m not happy with the outcome at all. It’s a game I thought we could’ve won, but, big picture, I’m happy with the progress and happy with some of the things we did to put ourselves in a position to have a chance to win. That’s something we didn’t do against Sabetha,” Holliday said.
After a three-pointer by Shay Tanking put Holton up 3-2 early, Hayden started to rely on the strong post game that anchored its winning effort on the night.
Hayden’s Jordan Lenherr scored 10 of the team’s 12 points in the first quarter and finished with a game-high 23 points, but Holton had a strong tandem inside that nearly matched her output.
Forward Mackenzie Moore put up a quick four points after Hayley Thompson went to the bench following an early foul. When Thompson re-entered the game for Holton at the start of the second quarter, with HHS down 12-7, she hit two key baskets in the high post to keep Hayden on its heels.
“I thought we did a better job Monday night getting the ball where we had a chance to score, and some of that’s our post players,” Holliday said. “Mac made a couple of nice moves and when Hayley gets the ball in the high post she’s almost unstoppable.”
The story of the game offensively, though, was the continued emergence of Shay Tanking as the team’s primary scorer. After Thompson’s hot start in the second, Tanking matched it with a scorching finish.
With less than a minute left in the first half, Tanking drained a three and she then sunk two free throws with four seconds left to give Holton a 28-26 lead at the break.
After halftime, Hayden stole the momentum right back by starting the third quarter on a 14-1 run and taking a 40-29 lead. The visitors seemed to ratchet up the tempo and pressure, which started to get to Holton as 10 of the team’s 14 turnovers came in the second half.
“That pretty much dictates what transpired,” Holliday said. “In the first half, we were very efficient offensively, I thought, for the most part. Then in the second half, we gave them 10 possessions where we made a poor pass and we got soft with the basketball and they made us pay for that.”
Holton weathered the storm, though, and after an offensive rebound and putback by Courtney Boswell, followed by a Hayden turnover, the home team answered with a 7-0 run to close the quarter and cut the deficit to four points.
Late in the third, HHS managed to reach the bonus and Holliday felt like that and the final run put his team in a good position going into the fourth quarter, but Hayden managed to keep its opponent at arm’s reach on the way to the victory.
Another mini-run to start the quarter put Holton under the gun and the host Wildcats never quite recovered.
“We got down. We fought our way back in it, cut it to four going into the fourth quarter and we kind of felt pretty good about where we were at,” Holliday said. “We thought we had them in foul trouble. We thought we had momentum on our side, then we promptly come out and give up two or three quick baskets.”
“That ought to be a time where we’ve had a chance to catch our breath, where we can put our foot on the gas and make some things happen and we’re just doing the opposite right now,” Holliday said.
Courtney Boswell hit a three for the host Wildcats halfway through the final period to cut the deficit to eight points, but that was as close as Holton would get despite a strong overall effort on Monday.
Preston Reid helped Hayden keeping pushing the pace to stay ahead down the stretch, with the majority of her 18 points coming in the second half, but Holliday noted he was still impressed with the effort of his team to the very end.
While Holton may have given up a few too many points to have a chance at the win, Holliday noted his team played well to keep pace with a strong Hayden squad and that could be a good omen moving forward in the season.
“If we can continue to play with that level of effort and intensity that we saw for most of the game, then we’re going to like what we’re seeing,” Holliday said. “We showed that we can compete at that level, compete on that stage, but it has to be something we do night in and night out.”
Playing Hayden is good preparation for the long grind of the league season, which Holton (2-2) will now get back into with a home game against Riverside (0-3) this Friday starting at 4:30 p.m.
Dec. 14, 2015
HHS: Tanking 6 (3) 4-4 19, Thompson 4 2-4 10, Moore 4 0-1 8, Boswell 2 (1) 1-4 6, Weilert 2 (1) 0-0 5 Riley 0 2-2 2, Karn 0 1-3 1. Totals- 18 (5) 10-18 51.
Hay.: Lenherr 9 5-7 23, Reid 7 (2) 2-3 18, Lawlor 5 2-2 12, Grunert 1 (1) 0-0 3, Gartner 1 0-0 2, Otting 1 0-0 2, VanAuken 0 2-2 2. Totals- 24 (3) 11-15 62.
Rebounding: HHS- 25 (Moore 7, Thompson 6, Boswell 4); Hay.- 34 (Lenherr 15, Otting 6, Lawlor 5).
Assists: HHS- 6 (Tanking 2); Hay.- 10 (Grunert 3, Reid 2, Lenherr 2).
Turnovers: HHS- 14; Hay.- 19.
Holton 42, Hayden 30
Holton 44, Hayden 22