- Val T.
‘Small things’ costly for Lady Zs in home loss to North White
Howdeshell leads RHS with 8, but Class 1A, No. 9 Lady Vikes win on Spry jumper
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
A lane violation on a free throw that cost a point in the first half. A careless missed boxout that cost a bucket right before halftime. Not quite getting back on defense.
They are some of the “little things” that Rochester girls basketball coach Brian Jennings lamented after the Lady Zs lost 44-42 to visiting North White at the RHS gym Tuesday.
Olivia Allen made four 3-pointers and led Class 1A, No. 9 North White with 14 points. Tessa Robertson scored five of her 12 in the fourth quarter.
But the hero was Robertson’s fellow sophomore teammate Abigale Spry who hit the
game-winning pullup jumper with 3.3 seconds left from the right side after each team had called timeout with 20.3 seconds left.
Spry’s basket broke a 42-42 tie. RHS called timeout but could only get off a desperation halfcourt heave from Emma Howdeshell at the buzzer which fell well short.
Jennings didn’t think the game could be so easily summed up as one team making a last-second shot.
“It was a good, competitive game back and forth,” Jennings said. “I think both teams had struggles at times. Our struggles just came early-to-mid fourth quarter where we got down or maybe even the third quarter. We brought the press back and brought some intensity back, but we really struggled to execute on the offensive end, and it was just truly just us.”
Howdeshell led the balanced Lady Zs with eight points. Kennedy Jackson had seven, including a left baseline jumper with 1:45 left that tied the game at 40 and two free throws with 55.5 seconds left that tied the game again at 42.
North White improved to 9-1. RHS fell to 7-5.
North White scored the first five points of the fourth quarter on an Allen trey and a Caitlyn Conn layup off a nice post-to-post pass from Robertson to make it 34-28.
RHS called timeout and set up a fullcourt press. Kami Burkett drove for a layup, which broke a nine-minute RHS field goal drought. A backcourt steal led to an Emily Hughes layup off a Kaitlin Rogers assist to make it 34-32.
Robertson’s 3-point play got the lead back to five. Rogers fed Millie Scorsone for a layup.
North White still led 40-36 after two Robertson free throws with 3:04 left, but two Rogers free throws and Jackson’s jumper tied the game.
Conn hit two free throws with 1:18 left to put North White back ahead before Jackson was hacked on a putback attempt of her own miss.
After North White called timeout, Cosgray fed Spry with a short skip pass, who dribbled into her game-winning shot against RHS’ 1-2-2 zone.
North White coach Bryan Heimlich said the last play was not designed for one particular player.
“They had been running that little trap zone all night, and we just wanted to get it to whoever’s open,” Heimlich said. “We said we did not want an outside shot over eight seconds, but if we had a layup, we were going to take it. They kind of sat back once we got the ball in, and so our girls did a pretty good job of being patient. We had Liv (Allen) come to the corner ball-side, and they covered her pretty well, so Hannah gave it back to Abigale, and Abigale stepped up and knocked it in. She’s been one of our better shooters this year, but she struggled tonight. … But she hit it when it mattered.”
RHS led 26-21 after Howdeshell nailed a topside triple just 29 seconds into the second half. But North White responded with a 13-2 run that lasted into the fourth quarter. They took a 29-26 lead when Allen took advantage of a friendly rim on a trey try.
Offensive execution bothered Jennings. He vowed to have a “pretty intense” practice Wednesday afternoon before the team traveled to Pioneer for a game.
“We were too worried about running a certain play or doing a certain thing and missed open people,” Jennings said. “We’re better than that, and we’ll just keep working to get better.”
Then there are things like the lane violation and Cosgray’s buzzer beater at the end of the half that seemingly was avoidable.
“It’s just all those small things that we emphasize,” Jennings said. “Small things in the offense, whether you miss a screen or you don’t come off a screen the right way. It’s all those small things that add up to the big things of a game. You step in the lane, we take a free throw away. … All those things, it’s communication on the court. … We don’t do those things.
“This loss is on the little things that we don’t do.”
The JV game was canceled. Jennings said multiple RHS JV players were in quarantine, but he declined to name those players, citing medical privacy laws.
North White 44, Rochester 42
NORTH WHITE (42) (9-1)
Hannah Cosgray 1 1-3 3, Olivia Allen 5 0-0 14, Abigale Spry 1 0-0 2, Kinsey Westerhouse 0 1-2 1, Tessa Robertson 4 4-5 12, Ashley Williams 0 0-0 0, Lynzi Heimlich 0 1-2 1, Lauren Annis 1 0-0 3, Caitlyn Conn 2 4-5 8
TEAM: 14 11-17 44
ROCHESTER (44) (7-5)
Emma Howdeshell 3 0-0 8, Sydney Haughs 0 0-0 0, Lexy Thomas 2 2-4 6, Kaitlin Rogers 0 5-6 5, Emily Hughes 2 0-0 5, Kami Burkett 2 0-0 5, Kim Batten 1 0-0 3, Mercedes Brown 0 0-0 0, Kennedy Jackson 2 3-6 7, Millie Scorsone 1 1-2 3
TEAM: 13 11-18 42
Three-point field goals:
North White 5 (Allen 4, Annis),
Rochester 5 (Howdeshell 2, Burkett, Hughes, Batten)
Total fouls: North White 11, Rochester 17
Turnovers: North White 20, Rochester 13
Score by quarters
North White 9 12 8 15 – 44
Rochester 8 15 5 14 – 42