The Nashville Hornettes girls basketball team had an up and down week this past week. Tuesday night at Assembly Hall, the Hornettes came back from being down double digits to shock the Carterville Lady Lions 46-43. The Hornettes next contest would not go as well as the Hornettes could not find a rhythm offensively in a 43-33 loss on the road at Benton. The Hornettes went into a road matchup with Pinckneyville on Monday night with an 8-4 record.
A good first quarter and a great fourth quarter helped the Hornettes defeat the Carterville Lady Lions 46-43 in Assembly Hall on Tuesday December 11.
The game started off well for the Hornettes as they got four points from Emily Stern, and three points apiece from Kylie Kozuszek and Alyssa Cole on their way to an 11-8 lead over the Lady Lions at the end of the first quarter. A big shot in the first quarter came from Kozuszek who knocked down a shot from behind the arc to give the Hornettes a lead.
“Kylie had a big moment. Every player had a big moment. That is a big shot for Kylie. She practices that. She was wide open, she took her time, and she just drilled it. That’s what we need from Kylie. Kylie she works hard on defense. They all just played really well tonight.” said Hornettes coach Doug Althoff.
The middle part of the game was not as kind to Nashville, as Carterville began to take control in the second quarter. Carterville started the second quarter on an 11-2 run to take a six point lead. That would be the largest lead for the Lady Lions in the first half. Nashville cut the lead to as much as three, but Carterville would knock down free throws before the buzzer and go into the locker room with a 23-18 lead.
After Nashville cut the lead to two early in the third quarter, Carterville would begin to stretch the lead back out. With the Lady Lions leading 23-21, Carterville would go on a 9-2 run to stretch the lead to nine, their largest of the game to that point. Cartervill’s largest lead came towards the end of the frame at 38-27, but Libby Ahlers knocked down a late three pointer to cut Lady Lions lead to 38-30 with one quarter to play.
Carterville would extend the lead back to ten early in the frame on a bucket by Jeniah Thompson, but the Hornettes defense would tighten the rest of the game. Nashville used a 9-0 run to get back within one point, and after a three by Abbey Crain, the Hornettes took their first lead since the first quarter on a bucket by Alyssa Cole with less than a minute remaining. Rylee Luechtefeld would then seal the win with two free throws down the stretch.
Nashville outscored Carterville 16-5 in the fourth quarter, something Lady Lions coach Matt Crain talked about having a feeling of deja-vu after the Hornettes came back from being down 19 points last year to beat Carterville. “They kept playing. Just a repeat of last year. The game didn’t end for 32 minutes, and we shut it off at about 27 minutes. We just thought the game was in hand and we quit guarding, quit rebounding, and quit taking our time with the ball and Nashville made us pay. That’s what they do, that’s why they are good. Hats off to them.”
Crain went on to talk about Nashville being a tough place to play. “Every time. Well officiated, well coached by them. Our conference is tough. We have our work cut out for us, and it’s going to be an interesting race.”
Coach Althoff talked about his team’s fight throughout the game. “I’m just really proud. Our kids didn’t quit. They just kept playing and kept playing. Finally we got that break we needed and got ahead of them. Then it’s a whole different ball game when you get ahead of them like that.”
Althoff added, “Everybody that played tonight, played well.”