WALDRON — A second consecutive comeback attempt from a big deficit came up a little short for the Hauser girls basketball team Wednesday night.
The Jets, who had rallied from 15 points down to beat Shelbyville in its regular-season finale, found themselves trailing Morristown by 14 late in the third quarter of their Waldron Sectional opener. Hauser came within six with 3:45 left in the game, but the Yellow Jackets held on for a 58-47 victory.
Both teams had trouble scoring in the first half. The Jets jumped out to a 4-0 lead with 4 1/2 minutes left in the first quarter and held Morristown scoreless the first six minutes, but Hauser went more than eight minutes without scoring.
“They got into an offensive flow better than we did,” Hauser coach Brad Hamilton said. “I thought that we had an offensive flow that they wouldn’t be prepared for, and I thought we were in a good rhythm early, but once they kind of got going offensively and they shut us down, we had a long drought there. We dug too deep of a hole, and that’s been a challenge for us all year.”
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The Jets (6-17) trailed 12-8 at halftime. They were within 17-12 a little more than two minutes in the second half when Sarah Tedder picked up her fourth foul.
At that point, Tedder had six of Hauser’s 12 points and was leading the Jets with eight rebounds.
“We got down and just couldn’t get back on our feet,” Tedder said. “It was a tough game. They played hard and played good defense, and we got into foul trouble that really slowed the game down because we couldn’t go after the ball. We had to play a little bit safer, and that was one of the big issues we had.”
The Yellow Jackets (16-7) built the lead to as big as 30-16 and 32-18 in the final two minutes of the third quarter. They still led 37-24 with 5:40 remaining before Hauser’s Jada Asher came off the bench to hit a 3-pointer, two free throws and another 3-pointer in a 10-3 run that cut the lead to 40-34 with 3:45 remaining.
Morristown’s Cambie Poole answered with a 3 at the other end. After a free throw from the Jets’ Grace Hasler made it 43-35, the Yellow Jackets got a basket and two free throws to make it 47-35, and the lead did not get below double digits again.
“Nothing was really working in our favor,” Hamilton said. “We couldn’t shoot, we couldn’t play defense without fouling, we couldn’t get the loose balls, and yet they just keep fighting and fighting. We gave up too many back-door cuts, and then the deep balls against our press prevented us from getting all the way back.”
Tedder finished with 11 points and nine rebounds before fouling out in the final minute. Asher added 10 points — all in the fourth quarter — while Hasker and Bree Hadley each scored eight.
Hauser will lose senior starters Tedder, Hasler, Tessa Sims and Lauryn Starnes.
“The thing I love about this group is, they never give up,” Hamilton said. “The heart these kids have is unmatched, and I feel bad for them because I think they deserved a better fate tonight and this season. I think it shows you the caliber of kids we have here. I’m going to miss them.”