Coach Kendra Grothmann didn't sleep well last night. Her adrenaline was likely pumping after she watched her Lady Comets take control in overtime to beat the Ashby Arrows 63-59.
After a tough weekend of Basketball the Lady Comets showed-up in a big way Tuesday night. Some tears were shed as they watched a manageable game versus Park Christian slip through their fingers. A tough practice Monday brought a Comet team to the court Tuesday with a sense that a new season could dawn against Ashby.
The Comets jumped out early. Displaying a prowess on the court that is becoming a trademark for Grothmann's team, the Lady Comets stuck neck-and-neck with Ashby. Going up two at the half, the Comets looked like they have for nearly every game this season. Hillcrest's girls basketball this year sticks with teams, but finds themselves running on fumes in the final minutes. Not Tuesday night.
Falling down as many at 9 points in the second half, the Lady Comets showed incredible mettle. Strong guard play opened lanes for quick steps inside the lane where contested shots put the Lady Comets at the free-throw line. "Megan (Aasness) went 7-for-9 from the line and Ruthanne (Erickson) was 9-for-12," noted Grothmann. "Aasness and Erickson really led the way for us."
Hillcrest's guard play and strong defense left them with a 3-point lead with seconds on the clock. Walking away from the huddle following an Ashby time-out the Lady Comets set to defend. After some crisp passes by the Arrows the Comets hung below the arc, avoiding fouling and allowing Ashby to pass the ball around the horn. With time dwindling on the clock the ball landed in the hands of Arrow 8th grader Courtney Koefod. Koefod quickly launched a three, with Comet defenders looking on to avoid the foul. Seconds expired as the ball landed in the net, sending the game into overtime.
Grothmann's girls felt the sting of Saturday's loss to Park Christian. Grothmann noted that Saturday's game was lost, not because Park Christian outplayed the Comets, but because the Comets quit playing. Knowing this, a spark lit in the huddle as the Comets walked to mid-court to setup for the overtime tip-off.
As the ball launched into the air Junior Ruthanne Erickson darted to field it. The Comets watched as Ruthanne took over the overtime period, scoring 7 of the Comets' 9 points in overtime. With the Lady Comets watching Ruthanne dominate the offensive sets, they setup for a series of defensive stands. "The girls pulled away with tough man-to-man full court pressure," Grothmann reminisced. "We also hit our free throws in overtime."
The defensive wall the Comets created separated them from the Arrows, earning the Lady Comets their first win of the season, 63-59. Erickson led the Comets with 22 points and 4 steals. Aasness provided 17 points with 8 assists and fellow guard Susanna Preston earned 2 points, 6 rebounds and 3 steals. The Comets received consistent play from Olivia Foss (7 pts.), Emma Royce (9pts, 7rbds), and Abigail Christenson (6pts, 10rbds).
The Comets play at Battle Lake on Friday and Wheaton on Saturday.