GIRLS BASKETBALL: Herscher hands Reed-Custer its first loss
HERSCHER — Talk about a tale of two halves.
Reed-Custer maintained full control in the first half and forced 13 Herscher turnovers.
But Herscher managed to hang around and struck at the perfect moment to take final control and hand the Comets their first loss of the season 37-26 in Interstate Eight action Tuesday.
“We really adjusted to [Reed-Custer’s] gameplan as the game went on,” Herscher coach Philip Peacock said. “We cleaned up a number of things in the second half and made things difficult for [Reed-Custer] to score. We ran the floor, beat the zone and got some good looks at the rim.”
Reed-Custer’s M.O. is its inside play of forwards Antoinette Hill and Kylie Balgemann. That game plan took a major hit on the opening tip-off, when Balgemann landed awkwardly on her ankle.
Although she tried to gut it out and ended the night with four points, she was forced to watch the fourth quarter on the bench, which made Reed-Custer into more of a perimeter team with Herscher focusing on Hill.
“When you take Kylie off the floor, it changes our game easily,” Reed-Custer coach Nick Klein said. “She wanted to go back in, but it’s only the seventh game, so it’s not worth it this early in the season. That dictated everything for us. She creates a lot of problems defensively and turns it into offense on the other end.”
Reed-Custer rode Hill during the first half and owned an 18-14 lead at the half. It held on to that lead until Mya Johanson connected on two free throws that gave Herscher a 22-20 lead with 1:30 left in the third quarter.
From that point, Herscher outscored the Comets 15-6 for the win.
Hill finished with 11 points and seven rebounds to lead the Comets, but the shooting around her wasn’t there as the team shot 7 of 26 from the floor and just 1 of 8 from distance.
“We made mistakes and committed some turnovers, which you can’t do against a team like Herscher,” Klein said. “However, aside from putting Herscher on the foul line, I thought we played really good defensively. I’ll take holding a team to 37 points every night, we have to be better offensively, though.”
If you never have watched Herscher’s Mattie Brown play, it’s truly something — not because she’s the best player on the court but because she plays with the most energy and effort.
When No. 44 takes the court, prepare for 32 minutes of endless hustle because she doesn’t leave the floor either.
“I feel like any type of tiredness comes from frustration,” Brown said. “But no matter what, you have to keep playing, and that’s my mentality when I play sports.”
Brown plays with the energy of a 5-year old, and it usually pays off down the stretch when teams start to wear down.
That was the case Tuesday when she finished with 19 points (10 in the second half), seven rebounds and six steals to led the second-half charge for the Tigers.
Her and Johanson, who finished with nine points and nine rebounds, combined to outscore Reed-Custer 28-26.
“We’re sort of the last surviving pieces from last year’s team along with Claire [Lovell],” Brown said. “I know I can rely on Mya to pick me up if I’m not having my best game. There’s a familiarity between us; I know I can depend on her and Claire, and it’s awesome.”
Mikayla Hendershott chipped in five points, and Lovell only had two points, but brought down seven tough rebounds.
Both teams play again Thursday. Herscher is back in action at home against Lisle, and Reed-Custer travels to Plano.