HOPE — With post player Erynn Shaw missing due to illness, Hauser coach Scott Seiple hoped his Jets would play bigger than their size Tuesday night when Greensburg visited.
Ironically, it was the smallest player on the floor that granted the fourth-year coach the biggest part of his wish.
Leslie Sims, the Jets’ 5-foot-2 freshman point guard, provided more than enough poise and played huge down the stretch in leading Hauser to a 68-63 win against the Pirates.
After spending the first three quarters directing Hauser’s press offense, Sims calmly dropped in 11 points in the final minutes to help stave off the Pirates who had spent the entire final three quarters trying to come from behind.
“I have to keep cool for my team,” said Sims. “If I get rattled, then others will, too.”
Hauser started two freshmen and two sophomores. Two other freshmen played significant minutes off the bench. But it was Breanna Lange, Hauser’s lone senior who enabled the Jets to start the game flying high.
Lange scored 11 of her team-high 17 points in the first quarter as the Jets raced to an early 16-point lead. Taking full advantage of the fast-paced, ragged nature of the game, Greensburg (7-9) slowly fought back and pulled to within a pair at the end of the third quarter.
“We like to play at a helter-skelter pace,” Seiple said. “We’ve been in games where we’ve lost big leads and then lost the game at the end. Tonight shows we’re learning.”
With sophomore Jennifer Banaschak leading the charge, the Pirates finally tied the scored with 1:40 remaining. But a bucket by sophomore Ellie Trotter on a nifty pass from freshman Paige Miller put the Jets (6-8) back on top. Sims scored the Jets’ final six points to seal the victory.
Both teams used full court pressure the entire game. Neither team was particularly effective in handling the press and combined to turn the ball over 59 times. Greensburg had three players foul out as 47 fouls were called and 59 free throws were attempted. As far as Seiple was concerned, the stats were par for the course.
“It’s kind of fun coaching youth, but as I tell the girls, I’ll still be glad when they get a bit older,” the coach said, smiling. “But certainly, beating Greensburg is a big win for us.
“Greensburg has a tough program year in and year out. And getting a win tonight and protecting our home court is huge for these girls.”
Sophomore Ellie Trotter complemented Lange’s 17 by scoring 16 points. Miller added 14 and Sims 11 for the Jets who hit only 21-of-64 from the field but nailed 23 of their 34 free throw attempts.
Trotter led Hauser underneath with seven rebounds. Sims had six and also was credited with five steals. Lange and Miller each pulled down five missed shots.