North Marion girls own crunch-time, deny upset-minded Gladstone, 47-44
North Marion's girls basketball team had an answer for everything the Gladstone Gladiators threw in its direction Friday night.
Mya Hammack finished with a game-high 20 points, including the go-ahead basket with 3:28 to play, leading the No. 6 Huskies to a 47-44 Tri-Valley Conference home win over the Gladiators.
Katie Ensign added 14 points to help the league-leading Huskies (12-6, 4-0 Tri-Valley) run their winning streak to 10 games.
Hanne Hopkins led Gladstone with 15 points and Taryn Pinner had 11 for the Gladiators (8-9, 2-2), who lost their second in a row.
"Gladstone seemed as if they wanted it a little bit more than we did," Huskies coach Trevor Bodine said. "We're in first place in the league right now and ranked fairly high in the state, so everybody is going to be gunning for us.
"We talked about that before the game and I reminded the players, "We've got to play like we're the hunted.' We were tonight, that's for sure."
Gladstone used a 15-5 run at the end of the first half to erase a nine-point deficit and take a 25-24 lead into the break.
In the second half, there was one lead change and three ties before Hammock, the junior point guard, drove inside and scored to give the Huskies a 44-42 lead with 3:28 remaining.
After Ensign made two free throws to extend the lead to 46-42 with 2:39 left, Pinner scored with an assist from Hopkins to pull Gladstone within two with 55 seconds to play.
When Gladstone's defense failed to come up with a steal, the Gladiators fouled Megan Netter, who made one of two free throws to make it 47-44 with 14 seconds remaining.
Gladstone used a timeout to set up a final play, but the shot they wanted wasn't there, forcing Hopkins to take a contested 3-pointer that fell short as time expired.
"It all came down to how North Marion defended the inbound pass and how they positioned everybody," Gladstone coach Glenn Hopkins said of the final play. "That wasn't our first option. We had something else drawn up, but they took it away and I didn't have another timeout, so we had to go with it.
"I am extremely proud of the girls. They played a great game, but it almost needs to be a perfect game to come in here and get a win. We weren't quite there."
The Gladiators hit some timely 3-pointers — two by Hopkins and one by Nyaira Dilsaver in the first quarter, one by Allison Pope in the second, and another by Pinner in the fourth — that helped keep them in the game, but struggled at the free-throw line, going 5 for 16 at the stripe.
"Our free-throw shooting was the difference in the game," Glenn Hopkins said. "We gave it a good shot. We played well but just didn't play well enough to get it. North Marion is ranked sixth in the state for a reason."
GLADSTONE 16 9 9 10 — 44
NORTH MARION 19 5 12 11 — 47
Gladstone (44) — Hanne Hopkins 15, Pinner 11, Rowley 8, Dilsaver 7, Pope 3, Jedrykowski, Grim, DeVeny.
North Marion (47) — Mya Hammack 20, Ensign 14, Netter 6, Sahlin 5, Christenson 2, Crawford, Patzer.
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