HOPE — After building a small lead early in the final period, Hauser scored just three points in the final five minutes, allowing visiting North Decatur to rally past for a 48-44 Mid-Hoosier conference girls basketball victory.
The setback dropped the Jets to 6-10 overall and 2-4 in the MHC, while the Chargers improved to 10-7 on the season, 5-1 in the MHC.
Coach Scott Seiple’s squad registered its own rally in the third quarter and headed into the final stanza with the action tied at 34-34. Then, with a combination of scrappy defense and the one-two punch of Paige Miller and Leslie Sims, Hauser pushed ahead 41-37 with 4:50 remaining.
Miller, who paced the hosts with 14 points, connected on a 3-pointer courtesy of an assist from Sims, who finished with 10 points.
But then came the dry spell, as well as the bigger Chargers, who refused to fade and pounded away at the Jets to get to the free throw line 10 times for 17 attempts in the fourth frame, including eight attempts in the final 33 seconds to hold off the Jets.
“We’ve just got to learn how to close out our games,” Seiple said. “We were tied heading into the fourth and got the early lead and it’s there where we have to close it out.”
North Decatur’s senior power forward Jenna Meyer, who led all scorers with 18 points and 12 rebounds, was a force to deal with as the game wound down, grabbing five rebounds and blocking two shots defensively to go along with six points in the final six minutes.
Her offensive rebound bucket with less than three minutes remaining pushed the Chargers back in front, 43-41, and they would never trail again.
Sims’ driving layup with 15.8 seconds remaining pulled Hauser within a bucket at 46-44, but single free throws by Emma Geis and Meyer sandwiched a shot attempt by Miller to close out the action.
Andrea Volk added 10 points for North Decatur, which included a pair of 3-pointers in the opening quarter, while freshman point guard Mary Hughes added seven points and eight boards.
The Jets, who outscored the Chargers in the second period to take a 23-22 halftime lead, also got 10 points from Ellie Trotter, including a pair of 3-pointers in that key second quarter. The hosts connected on just 5 of 10 free throws, compared to a 18 for 37 effort by the Chargers, who also out-rebounded the Jets 39-25.
“I think we answered the bell tonight,” Seiple said. “We’ve learned a lot this season, but know we have more to learn.”