OSGOOD — With 35.3 seconds left in Friday’s sectional semifinal, Hauser coach Brad Hamilton pulled seniors Ali Hoover and Hailey Lange for the final time. It marked the end of a journey in their basketball careers with the Jets.
Even though Hauser fell 57-32 to Oldenburg Academy, Hoover and Lange will remember this season for the rest of their lifetime. It was an historic season for the squad, which captured the outright Mid-Hoosier Conference championship by going undefeated.
Many people thought the Jets (14-9) would not have gotten this far after they lost four top scorers from last year. They proved many doubters wrong.
“It was a good season, but it was definitely a different transition from last year,” Hoover said. “Everybody had to work up and play new positions, which was different. Once we had gotten used to it, we played together as a team, which was really cool.”
One arrival Hauser welcomed was Australian junior exchange student Tori Chandler. Chandler proved to be a huge boost for the program. She made an impact on the team and on her peers on and off the court.
“Tori became one of my best friends on and off the court,” Lange said. “Basketball is about having friendships from everywhere. I didn’t talk to Tori until basketball started, and we have like an unbreakable bond now.”
Lange also took the time to reflect on the memories during her basketball career. She is in a rare class of having accomplished three Mid-Hoosier Conference titles in three different sports. Volleyball and softball are the other two.
“It’s been an awesome four years,” Lange said. “The part that means the most is the girls I have played with. The juniors I played with since I was little and to the sophomores and freshmen, as well. I’ve got a lot of patches on my jacket, and it feels good to have a basketball one and to do it my senior year with my teammates feels awesome.”
Hoover shared about memories playing alongside Lange.
“We’ve been together since the third grade,” Hoover said. “It is kind of rough to end like this but we gave it all we had.”
Sarah Tedder led the Jets with 11 points.
Hamilton, who wrapped up his fourth year at the helm, praised his seniors for the season.
“These girls have been with me all four years,” Hamilton said. “They meant everything to me. They’re living proof of what a team can do and accomplish.”