The Eagles finished with a 17-1 run to break the game open.
By JOHN KOVACH
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
HUBBARD -- While Champion was executing its half-court trap defense effectively, the Golden Flashes managed to challenge Hubbard, trailing by only 38-33 early in the fourth quarter.
But Champion was unable to maintain that defensive pressure, and Hubbard finally broke free and ran the court for a 55-34 victory in a Trumbull Athletic Conference girls high school basketball game Monday night.
"For three-quarters of the game, we executed a half-court trap," said Flashes coach Jeff Thompson. "But we got tired and the trap wasn't effective, and that allowed them to see the floor better."
That also allowed Hubbard (16-2, 13-1 TAC) to make it more of a full-court game.
"We ran the floor better and we stopped them from scoring," said Eagles coach Dave Konczal. "We started a penetrate a little more. The guards were penetrating more and we were rebounding inside and we got some throw-outs."
After Champion (8-9, 7-6) rallied to within 38-33 on Lauren Seafert's three straight goals, Hubbard scored 13 unanswered points, including six by Katy Jo Mroski and five from Lynlee Cornell, to break the game open.
Showdown: Hubbard's win set up a rematch at Girard (18-1, 13-1) on Thursday night. The winner will clinch a tie for the conference title. The Eagles won at home in the first meeting with Girard, 61-56.
Cornell finished with 14 points and Mroski with 13 to lead Hubbard, while Jami DuVall added 10, including six in the third quarter.
Michelle Canatsey had eight points, Jessica Carpenter seven and Seafert six to spark Champion.
Konczal said conditioning may have been a factor in Hubbard's breakout against Champion's defense.
"We only [usually] play seven deep. Maybe that's why we are in good shape," said Konczal, who used eight players Monday night. "We are a quicker team and we need to play with a quicker pace."
Reverse strategy: After Hubbard wore down Champion's trap defense, the Eagles turned the tables and gave the Flashes a taste of their own defensive tactics.
"Then [Konczal] switched to a half-court trap and threw us out of our rhythm offensively," said Thompson. "We got tentative with the basketball."
Hubbard began to assert itself in the second quarter, after Champion rallied from a 13-9 deficit to a 16-13 lead on Carpenter's 3-point goal and Canatsey's two baskets.
The Eagles used a 7-0 run to retake control (20-16) just before half.
Then, DuVall's six points in the third quarter helped Hubbard maintain a 38-31 lead, while Conatsey and Seafert each had four points as the Flashes stayed in striking distance.
Seafert opened the fourth quarter with a goal to cut Hubbard's advantage to 38-33. But Mroski and Cornell plugged back-to-back 2-point and then 3-point goals to make it 48-33.