When you play as well as the Lady Hornets did for more than three quarters, you can sometimes get away with a miserable finish.
Laura Stroud’s three-point attempt at the buzzer clanged off the rim and Saline held on to defeat Pioneer 45-43.
Saline held a 44-31 lead midway through the fourth quarter before Pioneer stormed back. Saline shot 1-for-11 from the free throw line in the fourth quarter, which nearly allowed the Pioneers to snatch the league-opening game.
“I can tell you what we’re going to be working on in practice tomorrow,” Saline coach Jeff Waltz said, with a laugh. Overall, the Hornets were 6-for-21 from the line.
“We got away with one tonight. They made a huge run. Our girls did just enough to pull this one out,” Waltz said. “It’s one of those games you take with a smile because you won and you know what you’ve got to work on.”
Abbey Bowen led the Hornets with 15 points. Sydney Jarvela added 11 points. Asia Lindsey scored six points. Kelsey Alexander added five points and Glory Ford scored four points. Shannon Reilly and Emma Brownsberger each scored two points. Laura Stroud scored 14 and Corine Burgard scored 11 for Pioneer.
Waltz said his team was amped about starting the SEC season against their rivals from Pioneer.
“Our girls were pumped for this game. There was a lot riding on this game. It’s our first league game and our first league win,” Waltz said.
It was the Pioneers who got the hot start, jumping to a 9-4 lead. Early in the game, Asia Lindsey provided the offense with two baskets.
“They were breaking our press and we had to abandon it,” Waltz said.
Saline and Pioneer were tied at 12 after the first quarter.
Saline took over in the second quarter, outscoring Pioneer 16-5. Jarvela and Bowen each had five points in the second quarter. Alexander had four points in the second quarter. Saline led 28-17.
The second half opened with Ford shooting over her defender for two points. After a Pioneer basket, Lindsey made a great move to the basket for a 32-19 lead. Bowen put back a rebound while getting fouled and then made her shot for the three-point play and a 35-19 lead. A few minutes later, after a couple of Pioneer baskets, Ford intercepted a pass and scored for a 37-21 lead.
Pioneer finished the quarter with eight straight points to make it 37-29.
Saline’s seniors stepped up early in the fourth to give the Hornets some breathing room. Jarvela drove through the center of the defense for two points. Bowen hit a three from beside the Hornet bench. And then Bowen scored on a layup. Saline led 44-31.
From there, it went sour.
The Hornets didn’t make another field goal. From the free throw line, they were just 1-for-11.
With 4.5 seconds left, Ford was fouled. She went 0-for-2 from the line. Stroud grabbed the rebound, ran up the floor and then leaped into the air and fired a shot just before the buzzer went. It bounced off the inside of the rim and back out.
The Saline Post 3 Stars
- Abbey Bowen had another big game with 15 points to lead all players.
- Sydney Jarvela scored eight of her 11 points in the first half, when she hit two three pointers.
- Asia Lindsey played with good pace and attacked the net throughout the game.