Girls basketball: Hall 38, Putnam County 33 (OT)
SPRING VALLEY — There have been times this year the Hall girls basketball team fell behind and didn’t show much fight.
That wasn’t the case Saturday.
The Lady Devils fell behind by 12 points late in the third quarter against Putnam County, but Hall put on a fullcourt press that sparked it to a 38-33 overtime victory in a nonconference game in Spring Valley.
“It was not good for about three quarters or close to three quarters,” Hall coach T.J. Orlandi said. “It was a struggle and it was tough to watch. I called timeout and it was 27-15. It was rough, but we put on that press, put on a little pressure and it was nice to see. We’ve had a lot of moments this year where we’d get behind and that’d be it. We’d kind of pack it in. It was nice to see a little fight back.
“We kept clawing back, got some steals, hit some big shots, hit some free throws and it worked out for us, thankfully.”
After a jumper by Sophia Harris and a 3-pointer by Caitlyn Cioni put the Lady Panthers ahead 27-15 with 1:29 left in the third, Orlandi called a timeout and the Lady Devils came out with a press.
Jaclyn Cinotte hit a pair of free throws after the timeout, Hall forced a turnover that led to a Cinotte 3-pointer and Cinotte swiped a steal that led to a pair of free throws by Hanah Hart to close Hall’s deficit to 27-22 entering the fourth quarter.
“At first, it wasn’t too great. We were a little sloppy,” Cinotte said. “But toward the end, we got it together, executed our stuff and had strong defense.
We made some big shots, we turned on the press and it helped us.”
The Lady Devils continued to press in the fourth quarter — holding PC to just two baskets in the period — and eventually tied it on a bucket by Tea Cattani with 3:22 left.
Molly Boyd scored on an inbounds play to put PC ahead 31-29 with 2:36 left, and Hart drove for a basket with 58 seconds remaining to send the game to overtime.
Cattani drained a 3-pointer with 3:07 left in OT to put Hall up 34-33, and Cinotte closed out the win by hitting 4-of-4 free throws in the final 1:25.
“Obviously, it’s a tough one,” PC coach Jared Sale said. “We let it slip through the cracks. We had a 12-point lead with 1:30 left in the third quarter. We pretty much dominated the first 18 minutes. In the second half they outrebounded us by 14. That’s an effort thing.
“When they started to make a run, we didn’t handle the pressure well. We hung our heads just a little bit. We stopped rebounding. They had second- and third-chance opportunities and got themselves to the line. That kills.”
The Lady Devils, who typically play a 2-3 zone, forced seven turnovers and held PC to just six points in the final 13:29 using the press.
“It’s something we’ve worked on a lot this year,” Orlandi said. “We don’t really use it a ton, but I thought they were pretty disciplined with it. We talked a lot about not committing too early and getting to your right spots. We talked about being one in the press where one person isn’t getting out of place and another person has to make up for it. I thought we were very disciplined in getting to the right spots and trapping in the right spots.
“The press got them a little out of sorts so we were able to get steals and get in transition. They couldn’t set up their 2-3 and pack it in so we were able to get open looks inside for layups or short shots in the lane. We also were able to get some 3s in transition with them scrambling to get back into their defense.”
Sale said the Lady Panthers haven’t seen much pressure recently.
“We haven’t seen it since the night we played Mendota at St. Bede,” Sale said. “It’s something that early on in the year was killing us. Then we finally saw it so many times we started to do a better job, slow ourselves down a little bit, our spacing was good and we were meeting passes. We haven’t seen it for three weeks. I think that was a little bit of it. Once they started to see they had an opportunity out of it, they picked it up a little bit and we started to crawl up into our shell.”
Cinotte and Hart scored 14 points each for the Lady Devils (10-7), while Harris led the Lady Panthers (11-9) with 14 points.
Lady Devils top Kewanee
The Lady Devils used the same formulate to defeat Kewanee Monday night at Hall.
Trailing by eight points with 2:41 left in the third quarter, Hall used its full-court press to outscore the Boiler Girls 29-9 the rest of the way for a 49-37 victory in TRAC East play.
Hart, limited by Kewanee and Hall’s own out-of-sync halfcourt offense, popped in eight points in the third quarter to start her team back, then added nine more points in a 22-9 fourth period. She finished with 21 points and a whopping 18 rebounds and contributed to a defense that forced 24 Boiler turnovers on the night.
In fact, in the 10 minutes from the time the Devils was down seven to the final horn, the Hall press forced Kewanee to turn the ball over a momentum-switching 10 times.
“Like we did against Putnam County — and maybe I should start going to this sooner — we put the press on and it energized us and got them a little out of sorts … It was our defense creating some offense, spreading things out and creating the space we wanted for Hanah,” Orlandi said.
After those treys by Jaclyn Cinotte and Tea Cattani started Hall off on the right foot, it struggled.
Hart didn’t get her first shot attempt until over four minutes in and by then, Kewanee (10-9) had caught up and when Adriana Contreras hit a buzzer-beating 3 to tie it at 11-11.
The Boiler Girls led 20-15 at halftime and 28-20 after three quarters.
That’s when Rachael Kobold, who played “her best game of the season,” Orlandi said, sank a putback and a layup off her steal to continue the run. Hart and Cinotte each added a free throw and the latter a lay-in off a Kobold steal to complete a 15-0 Hall run, making it 37-30 Lady Devils halfway through the period.
• Note: Saturday’s and Monday’s games were the first at home for the Lady Devils after starting the season with 16 games on the road.