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Hall’s Kaylee Golden (center) goes up for a shot while drawing contact from Bureau Valley’s Krista Naaktgeboren (No. 4) and Heaven Bennett (No. 32) Monday night in Spring Valley. Hall topped the Storm 44-25 to advance in Class 2A Hall Regional.
The Hall girls basketball team had an up and down regular season but was looking for only highs in the IHSA Class 2A Regional quarterfinal it played host to against Bureau Valley Monday.
The No. 4-seeded Lady Red Devils (9-19) capitalized on their opponents mistakes, played a tough, physical full-court press defense to cause the mistakes and scored on offensive rebounds to keep their season alive with a 44-25 win. Defense turned into offense and the ball was held under control just like Hall coach Mike Struna wanted.
“We didn’t turn it over. We only had 12 turnovers in the first half, and that’s probably why we scored 31 points in the first half,” Struna said. “We finally had more field goal attempts than turnovers in the first half.”
Hall scored in double-digits in both the first quarter with 14 points and the second with 17, while the No. 5 seeded Storm had 16 at the end of the first half.
After two quarters, BV (1-27) had committed 20 turnovers — 34 on the game to Hall’s 26 — because of the chaos caused by Hall’s defense, which lead to opportunistic baskets for the Lady Red Devils. With the Lady Devils’s stripping the ball at a high clip — limiting Storm field goal attempts — Hall found itself with the lead for all but the first two minutes of the game.
“The girls did everything we asked of them,” BV coach Tiffany Gonigam said. “We prepared press break and several other things and the girls executed that perfectly. There was just live ball turnovers in the halfcourt and situations that there was nothing we could do — we couldn’t get back fast enough.”
Down 31-16, BV began the second half by scoring the first four points to cut the deficit to 11.
However, Struna went to basketball’s old faithful, the man-to-man defense, to stall the comeback.
“The second half was just a low scoring half. We only scored 13 (points), but they got a couple of buckets early in the third quarter behind our press and then we decided not to press anymore to see if they could shoot some shots from the outside,” Struna said. “They had some open shots but they didn’t hit them. We got lucky.”
Hall scored seven of the last nine points registered in the third quarter.
Sophomore guard/forward Ellen Herrmann helped the cause on defense with two of her game’s three blocks in one sequence during the quarter.
On the game, she only scored two points (in the third) but grabbed eight boards and pick-pocketed the Storm five times.
Junior center Becca Hermann was also a rebounding force for Hall as she had a game-high nine boards.
Offensively, junior guard Kaylee Golden and junior forward Emily Hoscheid lit up the scoreboard.
“We played Bureau Valley at the beginning of the year and we were running the same plays we’re running now, we were just getting started with a new coach and new offenses,” Golden said. “Now we put some new plays in where we’re cutting, looking for teammates and giving it to the post. It’s helping a lot.” Golden only missed one field goal attempt as she shot 6-of-7 from the field for a game high 15. She had two steals, four assists and had four rebounds for an all-around game.
Hoscheid came off the bench to score 11 points, including 5-of-6 shooting from the free throw line. The second-year forward was also in multiple boxscore categories as she grabbed four rebounds, stole the ball twice and had an assist. “She is a sophomore we moved up to varsity at Christmas time and she’s been getting better each game,” Struna said. “She runs the floor well, gets to the bucket, gets down there (for rebounds) and is an opportunistic kind of player. (She) was a big plus for us (Monday).”
With a 40-23 lead at the five-minute mark in the fourth quarter, Struna told his troops to only shoot layups and by time the clock said three minutes, the Lady Red Devils were passing the ball around the perimeter waiting for a semifinal matchup against No. 1 seeded St. Bede to become a reality.
As in every basketball game from here on out in the postseason, one team plays another game and the other exits the team bus for the last time. Gonigam and the Storm maybe out of games for this season, but a young, tall and talented roster can only improve in the offseason.
“We’ve got a lot to look forward to. At times I looked out on the floor tonight and said ‘Oh my goodness, I have four sophomores out there,’ but at the same time it didn’t scare me,” Gonigam said. “They were ready to play and that’s why they were in that position.”
Brandon LaChance can be reached at 220-6939, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @NT_LaChance.
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