By Brent Huelsmann
For the first time since the 1999-2000 season, the Nashville Hornettes will not win at least a share of the Southern Illinois River to River Mississippi Division Conference Champion. The Hornettes dropped their third conference game of the season, against Carterville, which clinched the conference championship for the Carterville Lady Lions. The Hornettes bounced back from the loss to defeat Mater Dei on January 28. The Hornettes have a record of 20-6 as they head into the final week of the regular season.
The Hornettes suffered just their sixth loss this season as they traveled to take on Carterville on January 26. The Hornettes fell behind early and could not make comeback as Carterville clinched the conference title with a 53-40 win.
Carterville got the edge early, as they outscored Nashville 8-4 in the first quarter. In the second, the Lady Lions were able to double their lead, as they held a 21-13 lead at halftime. After the break, the Hornettes were able to cut into the Lady Lions lead, but still trailed by seven with just one quarter of play. In the fourth, Carterville was able to put away the Hornettes for a 13 point win.
Janie Holle led Nashville with 10 points in the game, followed by Paige Kasten with nine points. Libby Ahlers added eight points, while Karly Stanowski finished with six points. Rachael Kell finished with five points, while Sophie Heck added two points off the bench.
The Hornettes were back in action on Saturday January 28, as they took on the Mater Dei Lady Knights. A close game in the first, the Hornettes would be able to pull away for a 44-28 victory.
A close game in the first, the Hornettes led by as many as five before Mater Dei went on a 7-0 run to take a lead. But as time wound down in the first, Kasten would connect from behind the line to give Nashville a 12-11 lead after the first quarter. In the second, the teams traded buckets in the first few minutes of the quarter. The lead changed four times, before the Hornettes took the lead for good at 16-15. That would be as close as Mater Dei got the rest of the way, as the Hornettes built a 25-17 lead as the teams headed to the locker room.
In the third quarter, the Lady Knights were able to cut the Hornettes lead to as little as three but the Hornettes would quickly build the lead back to six with one quarter to play. In the fourth, the Hornettes put any thought of a comeback to bed as they outscored Mater Dei 14-4 in the frame and took the game 44-28.
After the game, Hornettes coach Doug Althoff talked about the win. “I thought we played real well today. Everybody looked kind of tired, but I’ve said it before you come out of the Highland Tournament, your legs are kind of gone a little bit, and you try to refresh a little bit. But its a big win for us. The best thing is, now we have some momentum going into the last week of the season, and hopefully it carries over into the postseason.”
Kasten led the Hornettes with 15 points in the game and was one of three Hornette players in double figures. Ahlers added 11 points, while Stanowski finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Holle also finished with double digit rebounds as she pulled down 11 boards to go along with five points. Kell rounded out the scoring with three points.