HOPE — South Decatur came close to pulling off an upset against Class A No. 9 Hauser, but the final three minutes of the game, the Jets turned up the defensive intensity.
That intensity forced the Cougars into several turnovers that led to Hauser points. After South Decatur took a 38-33 lead, the Jets scored the final nine points of the game to win a key Mid-Hoosier Conference girls basketball battle 42-38.
“They show that they can come together as a team,” said Hauser assistant coach Ruben Martinez, who filled in for head coach Brad Hamilton. “They all rely on each other, and everyone does their part and it kept them going.”
For South Decatur, turnovers were a big key in the outcome. They committed 31 turnovers, including eight in the decisive fourth quarter, when things started to slip away.
“It was the difference in the game,” South Decatur coach Kelly Fox said. “We just did not take advantage of the opportunities and finish the job.”
After a sloppy first quarter by both teams, the Cougars (1-10, 0-3) went ahead 11-6 early in the second period after a Mackenzie Kopplin basket and two free throws. The Jets (7-2, 3-0) then went on a 13-4 run to go ahead 19-15.
After South Decatur scored a basket late, it stole the inbound pass and Annie Gant added a basket to tie the game at 19-19 at halftime. Hauser scored the first six points of the second half to take a 25-19 lead, but a couple of baskets by Kopplin, along with a couple of 3s from Taylor Best gave the Cougars a 33-29 lead.
“Best and Kopplin both had great games, and they have not had that breakout game this year,” Fox said. “We got a lot of people involved and doing some really good things.”
With South Decatur leading 38-33, the Jets’ Grace Hasler hit a long bank shot from the left side. Tori Chandler then took over by scoring the next four points to give Hauser a 39-38 lead.
Chandler sank two free throws, and Taylor Henderson added a free throw to seal the game.
“We realized that we needed to hustle and step it up to create turnovers and get baskets,” said Chandler, who finished with a game-high 17 points. “That is something we are good at, but we just need to apply it in the early quarters and not just the final quarter.”
Sarah Tedder added eight points for the Jets. Best scored a team-high 13 points for the Cougars, while Kopplin added 10.