By Brent Huelsmann
After dropping their first game of the Highland 31st Annual Scott Credit Union Girls Basketball Tournament to Central, the Nashville Hornettes girls basketball team rattled off three straight wins over Nokomis, Triad and Hillsboro. The Hornettes record on the season now stands at 18-5.
The Hornettes got their first win of the tournament with a 45-33 victory over the Nokomis Lady Redskins on January 18. The Hornettes used a big second and third quarters to put the game away and grab the win.
In the first, the Hornettes got off to a quick start as they outscored the Lady Redskins 10-6 in the first quarter. The Hornettes continued to put pressure on Nokomis before the break, as Nashville outscored the Lady Redskins 17-10 in the second quarter to take a nine point lead at halftime.
In the second half, the Hornettes put the game away as they held Nokomis to just two points in the third quarter. In the fourth, the Hornettes cruised to a 12 point win.
Paige Kasten led Nashville with 19 points in the win, followed by Karly Stanowski with 10 points. Rachael Kell added six points, while Sabrina Kollbaum finished with five points. Janie Holle chipped in three points, and Libby Ahlers scored two points in the win.
After the game, Coach Doug Althoff talked about the differences between Nokomis and Central. “We started making some shots, and the second game they get a little more relaxed. It’s different, they (Nokomis) played zone,Central played man-to-man, up in your grill man-to-man. Central is a good defensive team, not that we didn’t see good defense tonight. Tonight’s difference was we made some shots early, and that kind of opened it up for us.”
The Hornettes were back in action on Thursday, January 19, as they defeated the Traid Lady Knights 49-28.
The Hornettes got off to a quick start, as Nashville rushed out to a 14-0 lead over Triad, highlighted by four three pointers. Kasten, Holle, Kell, and Ahlers each hit a three. The three point basket by Kasten, set a new school record as it was her 72nd three pointer of the season. The previous school record was held by Jordi Harre, who made 71 three pointers during the 2012-13 season. The Hornettes led 14-3 at the end of the first quarter.
In the second quarter, the Hornettes were able to extend their lead, and held a 26-12 lead at the halftime break. In the third quarter, each team traded buckets as Nashville could not extend their lead. In the fourth, the Hornettes made eleven of thirteen free throws down the stretch to put the game away.
The Hornettes were led by Kasten who finished with 15 points in the game. Kasten was joined in double figures by Stanowski with 12 points in the win. Kell added nine points, followed by Ahlers with eight points. Holle rounded out the scoring with five points.
Coach Doug Althoff talked about playing different teams. “That’s what is kind of nice when we come up here. We’ve played two teams that we don’t ever see. It’s kind of nice playing someone like that. It’s harder to scout, I’ll say that because you’re not familiar with them, but after a while it kind of gets old playing the same teams, so it’s kind of nice to play different teams.”
The win over Triad clinched a spot in the Consolation Championship where the Hornettes would face off against Hillsboro. After falling behind 3-0, the Hornettes would not trail again in the game, as they held on late for a 55-51 victory.
The Hornettes got off to a fast start as they rushed out to a 12-4 lead in the first quarter. Hillsboro would make a run at the end of the quarter, but still trailed 18-13 as the second quarter began.
In the second, the Hornettes got three three pointers from Kasten and were able to extend their lead to 29-18 as the teams went in for halftime.
After the break, the Hornettes were able to continue to open up their lead. The Hornettes outscored Hillsboro 14-6 in the quarter, and held a 43-24 lead going into the final stanza.
In the fourth, the Hornettes would quickly get a three pointer from Kell and held a 22 point lead. Hillsboro would not go away. The Hilltoppers went on a 15-1 run to cut Nashville's lead to eight points. The Hilltoppers trailed 54-48 as time wound down in the game, but the Hornettes would make just enough free throws to hold on. Hillsboro would make a three at the buzzer to make the final score 55-51.
Kell led Nashville in the win with 18 points, followed by Kasten with 14 points. Holle was also in double figures as she finished with 10 points. Ahlers and Stanowski each finished with six points apiece, while Kollbaum added one point off the bench.
Althoff talked about the win after the game. “That’s how we win, and it's not always the same people each time. It’s hard to guard us. I thought the big thing in the game, was when we came out, we came out firing on all cylinders. They played that 1-3-1 against us, and we hit some big shots. Then they went man-to-man and I thought Karly did a good job in there. I think we just played really well the whole game except for free throws, but I sure happy and proud of them. That’s a very good team, give them credit, they are a very good team, and that’s a great win for our program. To win three games in this tournament is huge.”
Althoff went on to talk about bouncing back from the early loss. “Sometimes that’s hard to do, I have to give our kids credit. We talked about it, I said you can either come back up here play bad again and we’ll go home, or you can sit there and pick yourself up and win three in a row and come home with a trophy and still be 3-1 in the tournament. There’s what two or three teams in the tournament that go 3-1 and in this tournament if you can win three games, I don’t care what bracket you’re in, it’s saying something.”