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The Hall girls basketball team found out there’s nothing free about free throws.
In Thursday’s Senior Night game against Midland, the Lady Red Devils struggled from the foul line as Hall — which shoots 55-60 percent from the free throw line this season — went 5-for-21 (23.8 percent) from the charity stripe but still had a chance to win in the final 30 seconds.
However, Midland finished the game going 5-for-6 from the line in the final 21.4 seconds to beat Hall 38-33 in a Tri-County Conference game in Spring Valley.
“It came down to free throws,” first-year Hall coach Mike Struna said. “We made five and they made 17.”
Midland finished the game 17-for-29 (58.6 percent) from the line and won despite Hall having three more field goals and one more 3-point shot.
The Lady Red Devils (8-19, 2-5 TCC) shot just 2-for-14 from the foul line in the first three quarters.
Still, Hall’s full-court pressure defense allowed it to stay close throughout.
After Midland took a 32-24 lead with 1:32 to go, the Lady Red Devils turned up the defensive pressure, which keyed a 6-0 run by the Herrmanns.
Elle Herrmann started the rally with a steal and a layup to cut the deficit to 32-26 with 1:26 to go.
Following a Lady Red Devil timeout, Becca Herrmann made two baskets in the post to pull Hall to 32-30 with 54.5 seconds remaining.
Midland’s Sydney Foster made 1-of-2 free throws with 50.9 seconds left to push the lead back to three, but a steal and a layup by Hall’s Jacquie Wallaert and then a free throw from Wallaert tied the game at 33-33 with 30.9 seconds to go.
“I thought our full-court press got us back in the game,” Struna said.
However, the Lady Red Devils failed to finish.
Hall was called for a foul on the Lady Timberwolves’ next possession, and Midland’s Nicole Woodall drained two double-bonus free throws to give Midland a 35-33 cushion with 21.4 seconds remaining.
Following a Hall turnover, the Lady Red Devils fouled again, and Midland’s Kaylee Kingen went 1-for-2 from the line to increase the lead to 36-30 with 19 seconds left.
Hall could not get a shot off on its next possession as it again committed a turnover before fouling.
Midland’s R.J. Judd made both of her double-bonus free throws to push the lead to 38-33 with 11.9 seconds to go.
“Our free throws have been our Achilles Heel all year,” Midland coach Jim Foster said. “Lately, we’ve been working harder at practice on them, and it starting to pay off for us.”
Hall had two more possessions in the final 11.9 seconds but never got off a shot and turned the ball over on both possessions.
Becca Herrmann finished with a team-high 10 points for Hall, while Wallaert added eight points and Elle Herrmann had seven points.
Foster scored a game-high 11 points for Midland.
The Lady Red Devils open the postseason at 7:30 p.m. Monday when they play Bureau Valley in a Class 2A Hall Regional quarterfinal.
“We haven’t seen them since November, and it was a close game then,” Struna said. “I saw them play Tuesday and they are playing a bigger lineup now. We’re going to have matchup problems. They are playing a lot better than earlier in the year so it will be a tough matchup.”
Note: The Hall sophomore team beat Midland 34-20. Jasmine Delaney and Alyssa Smith both scored a team-high 10 points for Hall, while Carly Yuvan added eight points.
Jared Bell can be reached at 220-6938, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @NT_SportsJared.
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