Steady, solid defense came to the rescue for the Hastings College women’s basketball team Saturday.
On a day when the Broncos’ struggled on offense, their defense lifted unbeaten HC to a 65-51 conference win over Jamestown University at Lynn Farrell Arena.
The Jimmies gave the Broncos all they could handle, as the visiting team from North Dakota kept the game’s outcome in doubt until Hastings broke away down the stretch.
“Definitely a grinder,” Bronco coach Jina Douglas said about the game. “It felt like a February game.”
The victory stretched HC’s record to 26-0 overall and 18-0 in the Great Plains Athletic Conference.
The Jimmies bulked up on defense and successfully guarded the paint. Hastings tried outside shooting. But that was downright poor in the first half, as the Broncos posted a cold 14.3 percent from three-point land at the break. HC made just one trey in seven first-half attempts.
“It just was a struggle on the offensive end,” Douglas said. “When you can’t make perimeter shots against that defense you’re going to kind of struggle, and that happened. But we did enough to get the win.”
The Broncos’ defense kept the Jimmies in check most of the night, except in the first quarter when Jamestown owned an eight-point advantage halfway in. The Jimmies tallied two buckets off Bronco turnovers to help gain their 16-8 lead.
In the early going, HC committed four straight turnovers. But the Jimmies got whistled for 13 first-half turnovers under pressure from the blanketing Bronco defense. HC scored four straight points from turnovers late in the first quarter that ended in an 18-18 tie.
“Defensively we did a pretty decent job. We were able to force some turnovers and, I thought, made them uncomfortable on the offensive end,” Douglas said.
The Broncos owned a 34-26 halftime lead, then broke out right after intermission to widen their margin to 11 points. However, Jamestown wouldn’t lie down for the No. 2-ranked NAIA team.
The Jimmies stormed back to life with an 11-2 scoring outburst that cut the Broncos lead to just one point late in the third quarter.
The fourth quarter belonged to Hastings College. The Broncos upped their game even more on the defensive court and finally started draining some treys.
Jamestown suffered a nearly five-minute scoring drought in the fourth quarter. Meanwhile, scoring a 3-pointer each for HC were Shandra Farmer, Taylor Beacom and Kaitlyn Schmit.
Farmer opened the last quarter’s scoring with a deep ball. Beacom fired in a shot from downtown for a 9-point HC advantage. Schmit sank a three-ball 20 seconds later.
Farmer produced seven of her 12 point in the last quarter.
Senior center Gabby Grasso scored six points in the opening period and finished with 15 points.
“Gabby is coming back kind of slow from her ankle injury. We got her some more minutes,” Douglas said.
Senior Sophia Pankratz also rang up 15 points.
Douglas lauded the efforts of HC’s four seniors as instrumental in securing the hard-fought victory. The seniors are Emma Grenfells, Farmer, Grasso and Pankratz.
“They all did a good job of saying we need to step up in the fourth quarter,” Douglas said.
The Broncos travel to Seward for their second go-around with No. 3 Concordia Wednesday. Concordia’s only conference loss is to HC, when the then-No. 1 Bulldogs were upset 66-59 back on Jan. 8.
Jamestown..................18 8 14 11 — 51
Hastings.......................18 16 9 22 — 65
Noelle Josephson 6-9 1-1 15, Emma Stoehr 1-4 0-0 3, Olivia Anderson 3-4 0-0 8, Paige Schmidt 0-3 0-0 0, Kia Tower 1-9 1-2 4, Hannah DeMars 1-6 1-4 3, Grace Benz 1-4 0-0 2, Mackensi Higlin 1-2 2-2 4, Corey Hickman 1-2 2-2 4, Courtney Masloski 4-12 0-1 8. Totals: 19-55 7-12 51.
Gabby Grasso 6-13 3-4 15, Emma Grenfell 2-7 1-2 6, Shandra Farmer 3-11 4-4 12, Kaitlyn Schmidt 2-6 0-0 5, Sophia Pankratz 5-9 4-6 15, Ali Smith 0-4 0-0 0, Taylor Beacom 5-6 1-1 12, Dawson Knode 0-1 0-0 0.
Three-point goals — Jamestown 6-13 (Josephson 2-3, Stoehr 1-2, Anderson 2-2, Schmidt 0-1, Tower 1-3, DeMars 0-1). Hastings 6-18 (Grenfell 1-3, Farmer 2-6, Schmidt 1-3, Pankratz 1-3, Smith 0-1, Beacom 1-1, Knode 0-1). Rebounds – Jamestown 43 (Demars 7). Hastings 33 (Grasso 8). Personal fouls – Jamestown 13, Hastings 14. Assists – Jamestown 10 (Josephson 4), Hastings 14 (Grenfell 4). Blocks — Jamestown 5 (Josephson 3), Hastings 6 (Grasso 3).