There was a unique tension in the halls Monday as the Lady Comets moved from class to class with heightened expectation. A host of girls shared that they weren't ready for the season to end. One spoke of drinking 32 ounces of water in a half hour as she thought through the game. This sense of excitement carried to the court, where the Lady Comets took care of business Monday night with a 59-41 win over Rothsay.
Through the first half the Comets charged at the Rothsay Tigers. When Rothsay would set into their offensive set, the Comet guards were tight on the starting pass. As the Tigers looked into the post, the Comet forwards were denying the entry pass with backside help. The Lady Comets were poised to execute interim head coach Zach Nersten's scheme. The girls have grown to trust Nersten's scheme, going 5-5 in the month of February. Nersten has his team peaking as they enter playoffs.
With Rothsay struggling to find good passes inside, the Tigers opted to cast shots from outside the paint. Their contested shots found iron and lofted into the air. As the Comets continued to seal their opponents, pinning many outside of the rebound alley, Comet guards swooped in for easy boards. Anna Newman and Hanna Lavin combined for 16 boards on the night, thanks in large part to Oliva Foss and Abby Christenson's work in sealing defenders. Foss and Christenson found their own boards through the night. Foss pulled down 8 rebounds, while Christenson grabbed 10 on her way to a double-double.
Rebounds were a key part of the Comet game. Coach Nersten noted this was the most complete game his team has played this year. Rebounds turned quickly into offensive transitions, setting up the Comet offense that hit six three-pointers. When shots missed their mark the Comet posts grabbed quick rebounds for easy put-backs. Foss put up a game high 17 points. Christenson rounded off her double-double with 14 points. Newman and Lavin hit big threes on their way to 13 and 12 points respectively.
Rothsay grew tired of chasing the Comets on offense. The Comets began to exploit the Tiger defense, finding players out of position as they moved to the free-throw line for 11 shots on the night. The Comets continued their hot free-throw shooting, making 7 of 11 from the line.
The story of the night was the Comet defense. They locked down on the Tigers, holding all players under 10 points. The Comets' footwork was on point as they closed out on defenders, grabbing 10 steals on the night as they made quick work of Rothsay.
The Comets look forward to State ranked Ada in the next round of playoffs. The two play March 2 at 7pm in Ada where Hillcrest will play their second State ranked team this month.