OSGOOD — A season that started with great promise ended on a sour note as the Hauser girls basketball team suffered a 54-31 loss to Jac-Cen-Del in the first round of the Class A Jac-Cen-Del Sectional on Tuesday.
The Jets got off to a 7-3 start in their season before injuries devastated their lineup. The team that lost to perennial power Jac-Cen-Del on Tuesday was a shell of its early-season form.
Hauser finished the season at 11-14.
It was Dec. 30 when things took a turn for the worst, as Hauser point guard Leslie Sims tore ligaments in her ankle and eventually missed the rest of the season. Hauser also lost starting forward Danielle Sneed for the season to another ankle injury.
Even with the injuries, Hauser coach Brad Hamilton said his team continued to fight.
“We never used anything as an excuse,” Hamilton said. “We ran out of people and had people playing out of position, but in turn they grew from it. It was more about a life experience than it was about basketball.
“In reality, the girls stayed together and did not quit. Even with all the circumstances, we did manage to win one more game than last year, which is admirable. I was proud of the effort, and our players worked hard together.”
It was especially hard for the seniors Sneed, Ellie Trotter, Frances Shoaf, Sarah Anderson, Erica Bostic and Jordan McDaniel. The group was full of emotion following the game knowing their season had come to an end.
Trotter and Shoaf did all they could to team help their team pull of a win. At the start of the second half, Shoaf fell hard to the floor and hit her head and had to come out of the game. A few minutes later, she would return after she was cleared following a series of tests.
Hamilton turned to his seniors during troubled times.
“You kind of have to look toward that veteran leadership any time you get into a difficult situation,” he said. “Certainly Frances and Ellie were the two most experienced seniors, but in perspective, all of our seniors made contributions throughout. They are all role models and are very active in their communities.”
The Eagles (20-3) put away the Jets by the end of the first quarter as they jumped out to a 16-3 lead. The Eagles made sure the Jets did not get any closer as they locked them down defensively and kept the Jets from getting an easy opportunities at the basket the rest of the game.
“We knew that Jac-Cen-Del was going to play man-to-man for the game,” Hamilton said. “We went to a whole new motion offense as of last week. Our thought was that he had to get more movement offensively and be able to score the basketball if we were going to be successful against this team.
“We decided to go zone defense this time around because we did not feel we could match up. A really good thing that Jac-Cen-Del does is move around away from the basketball. We just could not find the answer against their good shooters they have.”
Jac-Cen-Del led 31-9 at halftime. Jac-Cen-Del’s Lilly Simon and Jordan Day combined for 33 points. Trotter led Hauser with seven points.