By Doug Chapin
Niles McKinley High won the first and fourth quarters and Hubbard High won the second and third quarters Monday night in their girls basketball game in the Eagles’ new gym. But it was the way each team won their two quarters that prove the difference in Hubbard’s 41-34 victory.
The Eagles (3-3) held a 20-10 advantage in the middle two periods, while Niles’ edge in the opening and closing quarters was 24-21.
“We had a slight lead (18-14) at halftime and I thought the key was the first part of the third quarter,” Hubbard coach Ross Stoffer said. “We came out and built that lead to nine and eventually got it to double digits. They ended up coming back on us but I think we did a nice job with the delay game, cutting some time off.”
Krista Julian scored 12 points, Courtney Sargent had eight and 18 rebounds, and Allie DeLuco added nine and six for the Eagles.
Niles (1-5) was led by Katie Hitchings with 18 points, 12 in the final quarter, and Rachel Sussman with 12, including eight in the first quarter. Katelyn Woodford contributed five rebounds, five steals and four assists.
“In the first quarter, Sussman had eight points. Even though we were in man or we were in zone, we lost her either way,” Stoffer said. “So we thought let’s go box-and-one and see if someone else can do it. We ran it in the second quarter and went back to it in the fourth. To their credit, Hitchings played a nice game for them, especially in the fourth quarter.”
Niles’ last lead in the game was 12-11 with about six minutes left in the first half. Hubbard led 29-20 after three quarters and held its largest lead, 37-23, with 5:52 remaining. The Red Dragons closed to within 39-32 at the 2:45 mark, and to 40-34 with 1:07 left.
“Every game the girls are getting better and better,” Niles coach Eric Marino said. “We had a two-game span in which we were 18 for 108 from the field. Tonight, in the second half we were able to put the ball in the hoop again.”
The Dragons have been playing better than their final scores would indicate.
“The Champion game we were in there, we cut it to 10 then went down and turned it over. But in the fourth quarter we were right there,” Marino said. “The Liberty game, even though we lost by 18, we were within eight with two minutes and 30 seconds left. Our scores have been a little deceiving, but the girls have been getting better every game.”
Stoffer was pleased the way his team was able to execute a delay game as they closed out the victory.