PERU — Three-point shots are exciting, but can be rare birds, and something no one will trust their strategy to.
Free throws, however, will win you games.
The case was proved again at St. Bede Academy’s Abbot Vincent Gym Monday night when the Hall Lady Devils outlasted the host Lady Bruins 38-30.
Hall was 11-12 at the charity stripe, including sophomore guard Jaclyn Cinotte pitching a perfect 8 for 8, while St. Bede was a surprising 4-17 at the line.
“It was a good win,” Hall coach Brian Holman said. “We gutted it out, shot free throws when we needed it, and locked down defensively.
“It’s nice to come in here, start hot and maintain. We were strong enough when we needed to be.”
Just a week after the treys were falling like rain against Bureau Valley, the Lady Bruins had a few in the air but none found the net, with Macy Bosnich held scoreless for the evening.
“It was tough, they’re a great defending team,” Bosnich said. “They have that 2-3 zone going. We were always looking for open shots, but tonight we just didn’t get ‘em.”
Not having the long shot was the least of St. Bede coach Tom McGunnigal’s concerns.
“I don’t know if that would’ve helped us,” he said. “Sometimes it’s not the most reliable thing in the world, but inside wasn’t too reliable tonight either.”
Lady Bruins center Naomi Ochuba was held scoreless for the evening as well, matched well under the goal by Hall’s Janessa Hart.
Holman said limiting the effectiveness of Ochuba on the inside, and Bosnich with fellow guard Maggie Sons on the outside, was part of the game plan.
“We ran them off the line,” he said. “That was part of the scout, ‘run them off the line,’ but it all comes back to that you can’t do it unless Janessa can hold her own against Naomi, and she’s one of the few in the conference who can.”
Hall’s junior forward Hanah Hart didn’t start the game, but made up for lost time once on the court to be the Lady Devils’ points leader with 11, with Gabby Englehaupt and Cinotte also in double figures with 10 each.
All three got Hall off to a big start, helping the Lady Devils jump out to a 10-1 lead in the first period.
“She (Englehaupt) does a nice job,” Holman said. “People don’t see that it’s a lot of post-ups, a lot of quick jump shots and a lot of steals.
“She’s been doing it for a long time, so a little credit for her is a good thing.”
Sons (13 points) and Hanna Johnson (8) did their best in the second period to keep the score within reach for St. Bede, ending the half behind, 20-13.
Hanah Hart and Englehaupt poured on the coals to help extend Hall’s lead 35-19 at the end of the third period, further wearing down the Lady Bruins in the process.
Sons, however, would try to rally her troops in the fourth period with three steals into layups to help cut the Lady Devils’ lead to eight, but time would not be on St. Bede’s side as Hall was able to run the clock out for the 38-30 win.
“It didn’t go the way we hoped,” McGunnigal said. “We dug ourselves a big hole, kind of got out of it a little bit, they (Hall) dug it out a little more and we just couldn’t get over that hump.
“We’ve just got to play better all around. We weren’t ready every time the ball was in play. We got burnt on some things, and it cost us.”
Englehaupt was pleased to be a part of her team’s win for the evening,
“I think it shows the team’s effort of how hard we have to play and how hard we can play,” she said. “We definitely prepared, and I think it showed.”
Hall (5-2,1-1) hosts the Princeton Tigresses Thursday night, while the Lady Bruins (1-4, 1-1) head to Kewanee.
• Notes: St. Bede won the JV game, 42-19 over Hall. ... The Lady Bruins basketball and volleyball teams will host a Rip’s chicken fundraiser from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday in Ladd. Meals can be purchased at the door.