Thing 1 didn’t hurt the Hastings High girls’ basketball team Saturday. But Thing 2 took its toll on the Tigers.
When the Tigers took away Elkhorn’s inside game, the Antlers poured in points with the deep ball and rolled to a 49-36 win at The Jungle.
“(Elkhorn’s) got two options all the time. You take away one and hope their teammates don’t recognize the other. They did, and got themselves to almost 50 points,” said Hastings High coach Greg Mays.
Reilly Palmer did the most damage against the Tigers by reeling off 20 points, many on driving layups. She also canned a three-pointer, showing her offensive versatility.
Elkhorn’s best outside shooter, Lexi Knott, sank three baskets from beyond the horizon. Antler post player Tia Murray gave the Tigers fits by scoring 10 points.
“(Elkhorn) executed a few things that gave our defense trouble. It doesn’t surprise me that they ended up with about 50 points,” Mays said. “On our end, we’ve got the fire power. We should be able to hold somebody to 50 points and have a chance to win. So we’ve got to rededicate ourselves to getting in our shooting rhythm.”
Turnovers wounded the Tigers, especially in the first half, getting whistled 12 times prior to the break.
Class A Elkhorn took control early and kept tightening the clamps upon the Tigers.
The Antlers cruised to an 11-6 lead. The Tigers didn’t make a basket until three minutes left in the first quarter and finished the period with just one more.
Elkhorn built a 22-10 bulge three minutes left in the half. But Hastings showed it wasn’t ready to fold up the tent just yet. The Tigers regrouped and unleashed a 7-0 scoring flurry that whittled Elkhorn’s lead to just four points.
Elkhorn answered the Class B Tigers’ charge with a 14-2 run that gave the Antlers a 14-point lead going into the fourth quarter.
Unfortunately for the Tigers, Elkhorn enjoyed an excellent shooting night. The Antlers shot 50 percent from the floor (18-for-36), 50 percent from three-point land (4-for-8) and 70 percent from the free-throw line (9-for-13).
“Tonight we would have to have been almost perfect defensively to win,” Mays said.
In comparison, the Tigers shot respectably from the floor, going 13-for-30 (43%). They made half their long balls (7-for-14). But at the charity stripe, HHS made just three of 11 tries.
Elkhorn was the superior defensive team, making it difficult against Hastings’ penetration and passes to Tiger post players. Tiger passers seemed a little hesitant pass to teammates working to get open down low.
“We were trying to run our post-oriented offense. (Elkhorn) was playing behind us. Sometimes we are a little reluctant to give it to that post,” Mays said. “We’ve got to get over that. That’s kind of sign of a young team. They don’t see that as open.”
Maddie Hilgendorf led the Hastings offense with 10 points. She had a good shooting night, closing with four buckets in six attempts. Two of her makes were three-pointers.
Dacey Sealey and McKinsey Long registered six point apiece. KK Laux scored five points.
The loss dropped the Tigers to 6-6. Elkhorn upped its record to 9-1. The Antlers’ win-loss mark is among the better ones in Class A. However, Elkhorn isn’t rated because the Antlers play a mostly Class B schedule.
Elkhorn (9-1)...........11 13 14 11 — 49
Hastings (6-6)...............6 9 9 12 — 36
Jaisa Hoffart 0-1 0-0 0, Haley Debuse 2-5 0-0 4, Ella Dalton 0-0 2-4 2, Reilly Palmer 9-10 1-1 20, Maddy Meehan 1-5 0-0 2, Lexi Knott 3-6 2-2 11, Tia Murray 3-9 4-6 10. Totals: 18-36 9-13 49.
KK Laux 2-6 0-0 5, Dacey Sealey 2-2 0-0 6, McKinsey Long 2-7 0-0 6, Daelene Hinrichs 0-0 1-4 1, Maddie Hilgendorf 4-6 1-2 11, Nyaguor Duang 0-3 1-4 1, Lauren Hinrichs 2-5 0-0 4. Totals: 13-30 3-11 36.
Three-points goals – E, 4-8 (Hoffart 0-1, Debuse 0-1, Palmer 1-1, Knott 3-5). H, 7-14 (Laux 1-4, Sealey 2-2, Long 2-5, Hilgendorf 2-2, Duang 0-1).