HARTINGTON — Hartington-Newcastle decided to add some bigger schools to the basketball schedule this year, and Saturday’s matchup against Pierce was the first test against some tougher competition.
The Lady Wildcats passed the exam with flying colors — earning a 43-37 win.
“Since last year I’ve been looking at this game because it was going to be a tough opponent,” said coach Marcus Messersmith. “This week I’ve probably never watched more film in my life just because it’s a team I’m not familiar with, and even though they were 1-3 coming in I thought they were going to challenge us.”
Early on Pierce took advantage and it was easy to see why Messersmith spent a lot of time looking ahead to this game. The Lady Bluejays were aggressive, they were fast, and they were out-rebounding the Lady Wildcats. At least that was the case in the first quarter.
“I think the first five minutes was a bit of a shock to us because they were more physical,” said Messersmith. “I think they had two possessions in the first three or four minutes that they got four offensive rebounds on us, but after that I felt like we competed really hard. We cleaned that up and were able to get some offensive rebounds which were huge for us.”
HNS soon settled into their rhythm. Allie Rosener helped by hitting a couple of 3-pointers.
Pierce came out with a full court press in the second frame. The Lady Bluejays started off quick, but Belle Harms quickly slowed down the offense in the paint with two blocks. One led to a 3-pointer by Abbe Morten to tie the game at 15-15.
HNS soon took the lead and played stingy defense the rest of the half, earning a 19-17 halftime advantage.
“At halftime we just talked about getting our hands up on defense and if we get a tip we need to get the steal and run with it,” said Messersmith. “We felt like if we got in transition we could get some easy points.”
The strategy worked as HNS began to create turnovers. Rosener made a few more treys and Belle Harms’ play down low began to open things up. Heading into the fourth quarter, HNS led 31-27.
In the fourth quarter, Karli McCain and Belle Harms started playing elite down low. McCain finished with nine points and eight rebounds, and Harms finished with seven points and nine rebounds. Each girl was able to get a few rebound and put-backs.
“It was huge for us and it wasn’t just Karli and Belle. Ellie [Stencel] came in and gave us rebounds, so did Gina and Kayden [Jueden},” said Messersmith. I’ve stressed to our guards they needed to help us rebound. If we put a good emphasis on rebounding I felt we had a good chance to win, and after the first four minutes we really stepped up.”
Abbe Morten finished the game leading the team with 12 points, but HNS spread the ball around rather well. Messersmith says that is one of the teams best advantages.
“You don’t know who is going to score for us that’s the thing,” he said.
Pierce 15 2 10 10 37
HNS 10 9 12 12 43
FG 14-51 16-44
3PT 4-22 5-14
FT 5-7 6-12
REB 30 25
TO 17 15
SCORING HNS – Abbe Morten, 12; Allie Rosener, 10; Karli MCain, 9; Belle Harms, 7; Willa Scoville, 3; Gina Jueden, 2. Pierce – Kayla Simmons, 13; Maggie Brahmer, 8; Carly Sutherland, 8; Brenna Collison, 4; Sidney Zimmerer, 4.
REBOUNDS HNS- Belle Harms, 9; Karli McCain, 8; Abbe Morten, 2; Allie Rosener, 2; Willa Scoville, 2; Ellie Stencel, 1; Gina Jueden, 1. Pierce – Maggie Brahmer, 11; Brenna Collison, 6; Carly Sutherland, 5; Sidney Zimmerer, 4; Kayla Simmons, 3; Brianna Aguilera, 1.
ASSISTS HNS- Willa Scoville, 3; Abbe Morten, 2; Karli McCain, 1; Allie Rosener, 1; Belle Harms, 1. Pierce – Maggie Brahmer, 4; Kayla Simmons, 3; Sidney Zimmerer, 2; Brenna Collison, 2.
STEALS HNS- Willa Scoville, 2; Abbe Morten, 2; Liby Lange, 1; Karli McCain, 1; Belle Harms, 1; Gina Jueden, 1. Pierce – Kayla Simmons, 3; Sidney Zimmerer, 2; Maggie Brahmer, 2; Carly Sutherland, 1.
Hartington-Newcastle – Belle Harms, 3; Karli McCain, 1. Pierce – Carly Sutherland, 1.