OSGOOD — Although it improved by 20 points from its previous showing against Class A’s second-ranked girls basketball team, Hauser didn’t have enough firepower to knock off Jac-Del-Del on Friday night.
The Jets were within 12 points with just more than four minutes left in the game, but the host Eagles scored the game’s final 11 points to pull away for a 65-42 victory in the semifinals of the Jac-Cen-Del Sectional.
Hauser trailed by as many as 21 points in the third quarter and was down 52-34 entering the fourth quarter. Leslie Sims scored seven points in an 8-2 run to begin the fourth quarter that cut the lead to 54-42.
Jac-Cen-Del then scored seven of the final 11 points at the free-throw line as the Jets were forced to foul.
“The kids showed a lot of heart,” Hauser coach Brad Hamilton said. “I don’t feel like we ever gave up.”
The Jets (14-9) led 4-2 early before a 12-1 Eagles run gave them the lead for good. Hauser stayed in the game by forcing 11 Jac-Cen-Del turnovers in the first half and 19 for the game.
But the Jets could have been closer than 31-16 at halftime if not for 4 of 12 free-throw shooting in the first half.
“I have to figure out a way in the offseason to get us more effective at the free-throw line because I think that was the difference in the first half,” Hamilton said. “If we make all of our free throws, it’s still a ballgame.”
Sims finished with a career-high 26 points and also led Hauser on the defensive end.
“Leslie gave her all,” Hamilton said. “She really played her heart out. She hustled. She took it to another level on both ends of the floor. Offensively and defensively, she worked the entire time she was in, and we’re really going to miss her.”
Post player Rosie Newhart led the Eagles (22-1) with 18 points and 18 rebounds. Jac-Cen-Del outrebounded the Jets 42-23.
“I thought Hailey Lange played awesome off the bench,” Hamilton said. “We struggled in the post, unfortunately, and that was something we worried about and talked about, but it was worse than I anticipated.”
The Eagles beat Hauser 75-32 on Nov. 30 on the same floor.
“I think we had a better game plan this time,” Hamilton said. “We worked hard the past two days to prepare, but it’s pretty difficult to emulate that in practice. We thought we had a game plan, we got out of it maybe too quickly, but they never gave up and that’s what I’m most proud of.”
Besides Sims and Abbey Ashbrook, who scored eight points Friday, the Jets will lose seniors Paige Miller and Mallory Jordan.
“We have four amazing seniors that go to practice every day and work hard and want to get there,” Sims said. “They all just have been great senior leaders. It’s been a great season.”