PRINCETON — It was a defensive battle early Saturday night at Prouty Gymnasium as the Hall Lady Red Devils led the Princeton Tigresses 14-12 at the half
Hall would eventually bust out of their offensive struggles in the second half as they began to outpace the Tigresses down the stretch en route to 40-26 a victory.
“We came out slow in the first half. Defensively we played okay, but offensively we were real slow, didn’t hit many shots and weren’t attacking the basket like I wanted to,” Hall coach Josiah Martin said. “We came out and played a much better game the second half so I was real proud of our girls for that, but we got a win at the end of the day and that’s what we came here for.”
Each team seemed content during the first two minutes of play to run their offenses and look for openings in the opposing team’s defense.
The first opening came when Hall senior forward Becca Herrmann got the scoring started as she popped open just above the free throw line and drilled the 15-foot jump shot with 6:02 left in the first quarter to give Hall a 2-0 lead.
Both teams had trouble getting buckets to drop for the remainder of the half with Hall clinging to a 14-12 edge.
“We’re still trying to get that lid off the basket. We were able to pick it up on the defensive side of the ball early and that kept us in the game because our shots weren’t falling so our defensive really kept us in the game,” Princeton coach Kevin Hieronymus said.
Becca Herrmann gave Hall its biggest lead of the half as she received a transition pass from senior guard Brenna Faletti and converted an easy layup to make the score 14-8 with 6:25 seconds to play in the first.
“They (Herrmann and Faletti) are both our senior leaders, so we expect them to play good for us every night. I thought Brenna did good attacking the basket. She has a calm sense about her and she definitely got us into our offense tonight. Becca is always a good rebounder, she works hard and you never have to doubt effort from her,” Martin said.
Princeton was at a disadvantage for most of the game as senior center Zoe Mead went down in the first minute with an ankle injury forcing the rest of the Tigresses to fill in and step up where they were needed.
Princeton’s defense did just that as they kept the Hall Lady Devils offense off the board for the final 6:25 seconds of the first half while allowing their offense to cut the Hall lead to 14-12 at the half. Brianna Barajas had six points for PHS in the first half.
Hall proved too much for the Tigresses as the Lady Devils went on a 16-5 scoring run over the first 5:51 seconds to open the second half and never looked back from that point on, steadily increasing their lead for the remainder of the contest.
“It’s the tale of two halves again. What I wrote on the board for them at halftime was, ‘great defense.’ We held them to 14 points at halftime and I’m really pleased with that,” Hieronymus said. “We did great for 24 minutes, but we have to do great for 32 minutes. Those missing eight minutes is what did us in.”
Hall’s Faletti and Herrmann led all scorers with 12 points. Strom led for Princeton with eight, Barajas and Taylor Clark had six each.
• Notes: The two teams will try to go at again Tuesday night in Spring Valley, their scheduled contest Monday postponed by the weather.
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