After a successful preseason campaign, the Louise Lady Hornets had their backs against the wall Friday night at home with the Yorktown Kittykats.
With the prospect of losing their first three district games with a loss to Yorktown, the Lady Hornets got big defensive plays and a couple of Kittykat mistakes to help them grab a hard-fought 35- 33 win.
“We worked hard for this game. It was really hard because they came back in the third quarter, but we came back even harder,” Haylee Blumrick said. “We started scoring and making our free-throws and that’s all that matters. It feels so great to win our first district game.”
The Lady Hornets led 21-11 and in the second half, Yorktown chipped away and had a five-point lead in the fourth quarter.
Louise had a lot of success with senior point guard Madison Delossantos getting into the paint and scoring early, but Yorktown’s defense tightened up late.
After a Louise steal, Delossantos connected on a three to make the game 32-30. Louise got another turnover but gave it right back to Yorktown. The Lady Hornets fouled on a layup attempt and it ended up working in their favor with Yorktown only making one shot.
A Yorktown traveling call gave the back to Louise trailing 33-30 with under three minutes left to play. Blumrick had the ball in the corner and drove the lane pulling up, but her shot was blocked, lucky enough it was hit right to post Reign Edison who laid the ball in and her only points of the game put them down by one.
With the lead and the momentum going in Louise’s favor, Yorktown passed the ball around the outside and tried to drain the clock. Yorktown thought they had an opening and a guard made a run through an opening in the Louise defense, but Blumrick made a swipe at the ball and the Kittykat dribbled it off her knee and out of bounds giving the ball back to the Lady Hornets.
Blumrick again came up big, she put up a shot to take the lead, but it was again blocked, this time out of bounds. The Lady Hornets again called on her on the inbounds play and this time drained a long jumper just inside of the three-point line to put them back on top with just over a minute left.
Blumrick scored seven points and Delossantos had a game-high 20 points.
Louise had trouble holding on to the ball over the final minute, but each time they gave a possession away, their defense would give it right back to them.
“We made some good defensive plays (down the stretch). Even our subs made big defensive plays, they came in and played their role,” Louise Coach Joe Bill said.
With 12 seconds left, Yorktown had the ball under their own basket, but Louise forced a traveling call to give them the ball back. Delossantos was fouled, made a free-throw and the Lady Hornets closed out the game with a two-point win.
The Lady Hornets are fighting for a return to the playoffs after missing out last season.
“I’m just ready to get into the playoffs and play all of our games like this (with) hustle and teamwork, that’s all that matters,” Blumrick said.
The Louise Hornets opened district Friday night at home with a loss to Yorktown Wildcats 56-45.
A big first quarter proved to be the difference after getting outscored 18-9. The Hornets played the Wildcats close the rest of the way, but couldn’t overcome the first-quarter lead.
The Hornets and Lady Hornets will play