SEYMOUR — A second-half Trinity Lutheran surge sunk Hauser’s season opener.
Trinity’s girls basketball team outscored the Jets 40-13 in the final 16 minutes for a 50-23 victory at the Bollinger Gymnasium on Saturday night.
Both teams struggled to find the bottom of the net in the first half.
Sydney Jaynes got the ball off the opening tip and scored a layup to give the Cougars (2-0) a lead fewer than 10 seconds into the contest. Tessa Sims and Sarah Tedder got field goals to drop for the Jets, and they led 4-2 with 4:28 on the clock. Trinity’s Abby Hackman got back-to-back baskets to fall before a shot from Taylor Henderson and buzzer-beating jumper from Tedder put the Jets up 8-6 at the end of eight minutes.
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Shaky ball-handling by both sides continued in the second quarter. Three minutes into the second, the teams had combined for 10 turnovers.
Savannah Harweger and Hackman scored four points for the Cougars, and Grace Hasler netted the Jets’ only basket before the halftime buzzer. The teams stood tied at 10 at intermission.
Hauser turned the ball over 13 times, and Trinity had eight giveaways in the first half. The Cougars made 5 of 22 field goal attempts in that span, and neither team shot a free throw.
Out of the break, the Cougars switched to a press defense. Trinity assistant coach Donna Sullivan’s tactic paid off, with the Jets turning the ball over 12 times in the third quarter.
The Cougars opened the second half with a 7-0 run by the 5:19 mark. Leading 19-12, Trinity strung together 10 answered points to lead 29-12 with 1:14 on the clock. In that span, the Cougars’ Savannah Harweger amassed 10 points. Following split free throws by Grace Hasler, Trinity ended the quarter on a buzzer-beater by Piper Acton to go up 33-13.
“They executed, and we didn’t,” Hauser coach Brad Hamilton said of the third quarter. “Our thought was that we needed to speed up the game and put pressure on them, but in order to do that you need to make baskets. We didn’t make baskets, and they did. We have a lot of work to do in terms of handling the basketball and staying calm under pressure.”
The Jets continued to struggle keeping possession in the fourth quarter, turning the ball over another six times. Hauser finished with 29 turnovers.
Morgan Gabbard scored a pair of baskets, and Harweger added another, and the Cougars led 39-16 with 5:42 left in the game. While Hauser would get to the free-throw line a handful of times, they made just two of seven tries down the stretch. Harweger added five more points in the final 2:29 of the game.
Harweger led Trinity with 19 points, while Jaynes added 10 and Hackman had nine. Henderson topped the Jets with nine points, while Tedder chipped in six.
Sullivan liked the attention to detail by the Cougars in the second half.
“We need to be more aggressive and push the ball,” Sullivan said. “We want to be quick, but we want to be in control. In that first half — especially the first quarter — we were really out of control. We weren’t in sync at all. I thought we got better in the second half.”
Trinity won the rebounding margin 48-38.
Hamilton said that he liked the defensive play in the first half, but the offense let the team down in the final minutes.
“I think we’re better than what we showed,” he said. “There’s no excuses, really, but we only had five days together as a complete team. We had eight kids on the state runner-up volleyball team. They’re still trying to get their legs.”