By: Seth Kinker, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Manchester Lady Dutch Girls basketball team, 8-4 (5-3), fell to the Hanover-Horton Comets, 10-4 (5-4), 48-45 on Feb. 8.
A strong opening quarter for the Comets was too much for the Lady Dutch to overcome. Since falling to the Lady Dutch on Jan. 10 the Comets have gone 6-3.
Lady Dutch senior guard Avery Collins also passed the 1,000-point career threshold on Feb. 8.
She came into the game needing three points to join the club, scoring a lay-up on an offensive rebound after being held to two points in the first half. Collins is only the fourth player in Lady Dutch history to reach the 1,000-point career mark.
After the first quarter the Comets led 21-7. Outhustled and outrebounded by the Comets, the Comets pushed the pace all night. Comet senior
Melling and senior Kristen Thompson combined for 16 of those 21 first quarter points. Melling led the Comets with 21 points.
“We were reaching, flat footed and reaching the whole night,” said Manchester head coach Corey Fether. “We’ve created a lot of bad habits from our past three game where we didn’t necessarily have to play tough defense. We gotta get back to moving our feet, playing how were capable.”
“Our heads aren’t in the right place right now,” added Fether. “We need to get them back or our season is going to end earlier then we want it to.”
A 9-0 Lady Dutch run to start the second quarter got them back in the game, making it 21-16 with under two minutes in the half. With under 20 seconds to go, Lady Dutch freshman Mia Steele hit a jumper at the free throw line to cut the Comet lead to 23-18 going into the half.
Lady Dutch junior guard Natalie Bargardi started the second half on a 7-3 run by herself, with her last points coming on a three ball to slash the Comet lead to two, 27-25.
A layup from Steele would tie it at 29 with under four minutes to go but the Comets answered with a 5-0 run to take a 34-29 lead.
With 1:22 in the third quarter, Collins fought for an offensive rebound, won it, and went right back up for the lay-up to make it 36-13. The game was paused as Collins was recognized for her achievement at mid court with a plaque.
Fether, who has bbeen her coach all four years, has seen improvement from Collins every year even with moving her from point guard to forward the pst two years.
“That’s helped her moving to forward,” said Fether on the position switch. “Now, she’s comfortable with the ball in her hands and attacking the basket. Her inside out game, she used to just bbe a shooter now she’s a slasher. I’m so proud of her, she works so hard and puts in the time. Plays travel ball and in the gym all the time, she deserves this.”
Coming into the game Collins told The Sun Times she was nervous. After early airalls and two fouls in the first half, she had two points to put her at 999 career points.
What was the feeling reaching an achievement only three others had done in program history?
“It was definitely surreal, something ive been striving for since my freshman year,” said Collins. “I remember Jessie and Taylor Manders getting it, those girls were like role models to me and I thought, ‘I gotta do that someday,’ so it was definitely surreal.”
The next time down the floor, Collins fed Steele for an and one opportunity, and right before the buzzer sounded after three quarter, Lady Dutch senior guard Mackenzie Pietrzyk shot a deep ball that fell short but was rebounded by Lady Dutch junior forward Mary Bradshaw and layed in to make it 40-35 heading into the fourth quarter.
Collins had all ten Lady Dutch points in the last frame but a timely three by Melling, Lady Dutch turnovers, and Comet free throws sealed a 48-45 Comet victory.
Collins led the team with 14, while Bargardi and senior forward Jayen Humphrey added seven each.