The Lady Comets put up a second half scoring clinic using the boards. Their astounding 44 point tally for the second period catapulted them from a six point deficit at the half, giving the Lady Comets their third victory. Their climb to playoffs is evident in their soaring win over the Brandon-Evansville Chargers, beating them 67-58.
As the Comets stood with heart-on-hand in the Charger gym their legs itched to get on the court. When the National Anthem finished and they lined up for opening lineups the Comets heard final words from their coach that seemed to wash over their anticipation for the game. Following two 3-game weeks, the Lady Comets benefitted from a full week of practice before their hard fought loss to Norman County East on Friday. Using Monday to regroup, the Comets forged a plan to soar in their final games of the season. Tuesday was a great example of executing that plan.
The Comets put four players in double figures. Megan Aasness led the Lady Comets on the court through the first half, keeping her team close to Brandon-Evansville as they entered the locker room down 29-23. Following a halftime pep-talk, Comet Head Coach Kendra Grothmann saw her Lady Comets outplay a skilled Charger team in areas that require grit and mental toughness.
The Lady Comets put 7 girls on the court in total. Junior Anna Newman is on a mission trip, revealing a Comet bench that is deeper in coaches than players. With only 2 subs, the Lady Comets played smart and aggressive in the second half, pulling down an eye-popping 37 rebounds, 24 on defense that ended Charger possessions.
With the Comets controlling the glass on defense, Ruthanne Erickson and Megan Aasness set to work on the offensive side. Decisive passes from the point moved the Chargers around on defense and revealed holes that Comets cut to and opened their offense. The holes proved significant for a Comet team that shot an average 51% from the floor. Dismal shooting from beyond the arc, hitting only 3 of 15 3-pointers, left the Comets to pull down 13 rebounds in the paint. Recognizing their difficulty shooting from outside, Hillcrest looked for layup opportunities as they broke down the Chargers.
With shots bouncing off the glass, Hillcrest stepped into the lead in the second half. Abigail Christenson made a home for herself on the block, pulling down 5 offensive rebounds that propelled her to 12 points. Erickson slipped by defenders in an effort to pull down missed shots as well, grabbing 7 defensive boards and 1 offensive, making her the second leading rebounder of the night. Erickson benefitted from Senior Emma Royce's work in the paint. Royce pushed defenders out of the way following missed shots, grabbing 9 defensive rebounds herself as she played her part in grabbing a game high 12 boards for the night. Royce ended the game with six points.
While Christenson and Royce controlled the boards, Freshman Olivia Foss emerged with timely shooting that lifted the Comets. Foss finished the night with 16 points on 7-of-12 (58%) shooting from the floor. With Foss providing more inside threat, watching the Chargers struggle to control the Comets' dominance in the point, Aasness and Erickson soared.
Neither Aasness nor Erickson shot well on the night. Erickson only hit 2 of 10 3-pointers, Aasness 1 of 4. But the two guards teamed up for 31 of the Comets 67 points, putting in strong efforts by crashing the boards and fighting for steals throughout the long night. Aasness finished the game with 16 points, hitting 5 of 6 freethrows. Erickson won most of her points in the paint, ending the game with 15.
Having only played 7 girls on the night, watching the Chargers substitute 3 to 4 girls at a time, only motivated Hillcrest to fight harder. The mettle and determination in the Comets to climb to playoffs is evident in their decisive win of will on Tuesday night over the Little 8 conference co-leader. They look forward to another test on Friday night where they play at Ashby following a 63-59 overtime win over the Arrows earlier this season. Game time is 7:15pm.