The Lady Comets opened the season against a Henning team boasting six seniors. After falling behind and seeing a four point deficit on the scoreboard Sophomore forward Olivia Foss caught eyes with her teammates and started the Comets scoring engine.
Senior Hanna Lavin opened scoring for Hillcrest, confident in her slicing to the hoop with Foss trailing and cutting to position for a rebound. Fueled by the Comet proficiency in breaking the press, Foss found the lane open as the Comet guards worked to reverse the ball in the opening few series. Foss took advantage, finding lanes to cut to the hoop as Lavin, Susanna Preston, and Ruthanne Erickson worked backdoor cuts and created separation around the the three-point line.
Senior Ruthanne Erickson is the Lady Comets' top outside threat, able to spot up as Lavin slices to the hoop with aggression. Susanna Preston is the game manager, controlling the offense and setting up plays as she surveys the court. Preston's ability to see passing lanes opened shots for Erickson and placed the ball in Lavin's hands as Foss and Senior Abigail Christenson crashed the boards.
Foss found scoring early in her hustle for rebounds. Her quick put-backs closed the gap for Hillcrest and gave the Lady Comets a 14 all tie minutes into the game. With the defense shifting, working to manage both Christenson and Foss in the paint, Hillcrest's guards were able to generate separation off screens where Ruthanne Erickson found easy scoring to pull Hillcrest up back to a 16 point tie midway through the first half.
The Lady Comets play an aggressive half-court defense. A few quick fouls by Preston and Senior forward Anna Newman put the Henning Hornets at the line where they shot 52% on the night, capitalizing on Hillcrest's first game jitters.
The Hornets put together a surge in scoring to close the first half. An 8 point run put the Comets on their toes as Hillcrest regrouped, putting together two simple free throws and stopping Henning on defense before the final buzzer sent the teams to the locker rooms. The score at half was 28-20.
Henning came out of the locker room determined to put distance between themselves and the Comets. A 12 point scoring had Hillcrest on their heels before Foss found the backboard and posted a two-pointer to pull the Comets within 20 points of the Hornets four minutes into the second half.
The Comets kept with Henning through the rest of the half, keeping the Hornets' lead under 25. The Lady Comets are known for their resiliency, playing through the final buzzer. Stout defense turned created a few turnovers as Preston, Newman, and Erickson jumped into a full-court press to add points to the Comets' column and finish the game scoring. Erickson knocked down a three-pointer, Newman found a simple layup, and Preston ripped the ball from the Hornets at midcourt, finishing the game with a strong layup and the crowd hungry for another half of play.
Olivia Foss led the Comets with 21 points. Ruthanne Erickson hit one three-pointer and 3 long twos for a 10 point total at the end of her stat line. Foss' compadre in the paint, Abigail Christenson, finished with four points, keyed the entire night by the Hornet defense. Lavin, Preston, and Newman each contributed 2 points as the Comets closed their first game with their scoring engine still revving. The 60-41 loss was a warm-up for their season.
Hillcrest plays Brandon-Evansville Thursday, December 1 in Brandon before coming home again for a night game vs. Park Christian in the Student Activities Center at 7:15pm.