Girls basketball: Hall 37, Mendota 35
MENDOTA — For the second time this season, the Mendota Lady Trojans learned a hard lesson: having a lead over the Hall Lady Devils is not something you just protect, you better keep building on it until the final buzzer.
In a scenario similar to their last meeting in November, Mendota seemed to be in the driver’s seat until a fourth-period surge put the Lady Devils ahead to help get their 37-35 win on Thursday night.
“It’s just a flat-out outstanding effort by our girls,” Hall coach Brian Holman said. “That is the best win we’ve had all year, it’s not even close. It’s a testament.
“I think I’m just so proud that we continue to work. In January, you’re three months in, you’re getting tired, and we just continue to do things.”
The game started out a tight one, with Hall (14-6) taking an early lead, only to have the Lady Trojans tie it up 7-7 at the end of the first period, with junior Hanah Hart (16 points) getting the only buckets in for Hall.
One missing element of Hall’s offense, Gabby Englehaupt, was suited up but still nursing a sore ankle and remained sidelined.
Two quick buckets from Hart put the Lady Devils ahead 11-9 at the start of the second period, but Mendota answered with a 13-1 run to put the Lady Trojans (14-6) up 23-12 at halftime.
Mendota points leader Amelia Bromenschenkel (18) led the second-period charge with help from Larkin O’Donnell (7) and Alex Barrera (6).
“This is a team we’ve looked at and seen their success, and we thought, ‘Hey, we can be right there with them,’ and I thought we were ready to go tonight,” Mendota coach John Hansen said.
“We led them by 12 at Oregon and let ‘em back in the game and lost (53-46),” he added. “So we lead by 11 at halftime and I said ‘We’ve been here before, we’ve seen what can happen when we get loose.’”
Eight points from each team in the third period kept the Lady Trojans in an 11-point advantage.
In the fourth period, however, it was Hall’s turn to go on a scoring binge, with a deuce and a trey from Cinotte (10 points) sparking off a 12-0 run to bring the Lady Devils to within one point, 31-30 with three minutes left in the game.
“It was back to simple things like form and being ready to shoot,” Cinotte said. “Those things are big in games like this when you’re down, and you just need those fast buckets real quick.”
After a Mendota timeout at 2:45, Cinotte drained another 3-pointer to tie the score at 33-33.
Holman called time for Hall, after which Morris sunk a trey to put the Lady Devils up 36-33. Mendota’s Abby Motter responded with two free throws to close it back to 36-35.
Hart was fouled on a layup, enabling her to hit a free throw to eke out a 2-point lead, 37-35.
With less than 10 seconds on the clock, Mendota had their last chance, driving the length of the floor, but a 3-point attempt by Bromenschenkel missed the net and preserved the victory for Hall.
“We played hard, played our butts off,” Hansen said. “But we let Hart get loose and Cinotte get that 3. After that, we were scrambling. Instead of relaxing offensively, we were forcing it places.
“I think we forgot we had a lead. This one’s gonna sting.”
Holman, on the other hand, could barely contain how pleased he was with his team.
“This could’ve went south in a hurry, and it’s all a credit to these girls,” he said. “Two sophomores (Cinotte and Morris) stepped up and hit huge threes after having rough starts. Sweet win.”
Notes: Mendota won the soph game 31-13, led by Teghan Tillman’s 16 points. ... Hall heads to Prouty Gym Monday night to face conference rival Princeton.