HOPE — The Hauser Lady Jets dropped a tough struggle against visiting Knightstown 56-51 on Saturday.
After battling back from a slow start, Hauser took a six-point lead into the fourth quarter only to see the game taken away.
“We started slowly in the first and didn’t close it in the fourth,” said Hauser coach Scott Seiple. “It’s like bookends. It’s like we panicked.”
Hauser (5-6) was led by freshman guard Leslie Sims, who scored 17 points. Her speed and ball handling kept Knightstown (8-4) on its heels in the second quarter when she scored seven of her points.
“They knocked down shots and we missed too many free throws,” said Sims. “It was a rough and physical game and we let ourselves get distracted.”
Hauser barely shot 50 percent from the free throw line, making 16 of its 30 attempts.
“Knightstown hit their free throws down the stretch,” Seiple said. “We struggled from the line through the entire game.”
Thirteen of the Lady Panthers’ 26 fourth-quarter points were from the free throw line.
Freshman Paige Miller added 14 points for the Lady Jets, including two 3-pointers. “We went into the fourth quarter with the lead and we relaxed,” said Miller. “We thought we had it.”
A lack of rebounding factored into Hauser’s loss. Knightstown junior Emily Thomas was seemingly unstoppable in the lane scoring 20 points, many off of second attempts.
“We didn’t contest in the lane,” Miller said. “They were physical and out-rebounded us.”
A technical foul called on Knightstown coach Dawn Basicker with 26 seconds left in the third quarter seemed to motivate her team. The Lady Panthers proceeded to outscore Hauser 26-15 in the fourth quarter.
Knightstown sophomore Macy Burton gave the Lady Panthers a 47-46 lead with a little over two minutes to play. Knightstown never fell behind again and pulled away to the victory.
“They’re a good ball club and played with more energy than we did,” Seiple said. “They stuck with it and battled back and beat us.”
In the reserve contest prior to the varsity game, Hauser defeated Knightstown 38-19 and was led by freshman Abbey Ashbrook with 11 points.