HOPE — For about 28 minutes Thursday night, the Class A No. 10 Hauser girls basketball was on par with Class 2A No. 3 Triton Central, but it was the last four minutes of the second quarter that proved the difference.
The Jets were in a little bit of foul trouble, and the Tigers were able to capitalize on offense to score the final eight points of the first half. Hauser never gave up in the second half, but the deficit was too much to overcome, and it eventually fell 47-36.
“I was trying to get to the half without any more fouls,” Hauser coach Brad Hamilton said. “I had three girls with two (fouls). That decision is on me. I let them be on the bench for way too long. All season long my plan was to not leave them out of the game for too long, and tonight I did and we paid for it. The hard part is that it was their bench that put up the run.”
The Jets defense kept them in the game. Triton Central’s game plan was to keep feeding the ball inside. Hauser (8-3) kept the Tigers (11-1) in check, but did not capitalize enough on offense, and the teams were tied at 9-9 after the first quarter.
Triton Central led 29-14 early in the third quarter, but scored eight straight points to cut the deficit in half. From that point forward, the Jets could not put together another significant run in the fourth quarter. Both teams kept trading points until the Tigers sealed the game from the free-throw line.
Hauser senior co-captain Ali Hoover hopes tough competition like Triton Central will make the Jets even better and more improved as they get ready to start a tough schedule in the second half of the season.
“It was one of the most physical games we’ve had, and it is something we have not seen in awhile,” Hoover said. “We worked together as a team to try and keep up and play together and do what we needed to do to get it done. We did not come out on top tonight but as a team, I think we can out on top, personally.”
Regardless of the outcome, Hamilton was proud of his team’s effort.
“We battled and came out strong in the second half,” Hamilton said. “We never gave up in the game. We got a lot of contributions from several people tonight.”
Tori Chandler led Hauser with 10 points.