Tigers deny Trojan comeback
By TROY HYDE
ELDORA – South Hardin coach Matt Thompson insists that his Tiger squad will take things one game at a time.
But in the same sentence he admitted that South Hardin’s 57-52 win over West Marshall was pretty big in the grand scheme of the North Iowa Cedar League West Divsion race.
If Tuesday’s victory is any indication, the Tigers should be right in the thick of the league race after senior Kayla Prosser scored 24 points and grabbed seven rebounds and junior Sarah Boomgarden added 16 and seven in the five-point win.
“It was huge,” Thompson said of the win. “They’ve got two of the better offensive players in the conference. If we could slow them down, it would be big. We are taking it game by game though.”
The two leading scorers for West Marshall are junior Rachel Freland and sophomore Gabby Reyerson.
Freland drew a lot of attention from the Tigers, including a box and one, but still scored 24 points, 18 of which came after halftime. Reyerson battled foul trouble but still managed 12 points on the night.
While those two played close to their potential, West Marshall coach Fred Zeller wants and needs more from the supporting cast.
“I think our youth showed up tonight,” said Zeller, whose squad has zero seniors on the roster. “We got some good looks. We just didn’t shoot very confidently. We have some kids that are still learning, but we have to make those shots. If we make those shots, it would have forced them to change things up. We need others to step up and they couldn’t quite get it done.”
The victory for South Hardin improves its record to 6-0 overall and 2-0 in the NICL West. West Marshall, a defending co-champion of the NICL West, is now 2-4 overall and 0-2 in league play.
The Tigers had their 3-point shot working in the first quarter as Claire Damon canned back-to-back treys to put South Hardin in front 10-6.
Boomgarden also banked in a 3 just before the first-quarter horn and then banked in another 3 early in the second quarter to push the advantage to 20-11.
An 8-1 run for West Marshall cut its deficit to just two but Prosser ended the half by making 3-of-4 from the line. The Tigers were 24-of-33 from the charity stripe in the game and Prosser was 12-of-15.
West Marshall jumped on the Tigers early in the third and the 6-1 run to start the frame tied the game at 25-all. That is when Prosser and Boomgarden went to work for the Tigers.
Prosser put the Tigers back in front with three straight points and Boomgarden scored on consecutive possessions to make it a 32-25 advantage for the home team.
The Tigers led by as many as seven in the period and took a five-point advantage into the fourth quarter.
That is when Prosser put the game away. The senior forward scored three straight buckets to push the South Hardin lead to 12 and then her 3-point play with 1:22 to go in regulation made it a 10-point game.
South Hardin then sealed the game at the foul line, sinking 5-of-6 in the final 1:22.
“Her senior leadership has been awesome this year,” said Thompson of Prosser. “It seems like, at least with the last five games, that the fourth quarter has been her quarter. She kind of takes control and does her stuff and it picks up the team.”
Both teams missed a lot of bunnies in the game. That happens sometimes during early-season games, and Thompson has no issues with misses as long as his squad continues to put them back up and go to hoop strong.
“Today was probably the most physical game we’ve seen all year,” Thompson said. “That is something we are not too accustomed to. As long as they keep putting it back up and going to the hoop strong, that is all we ask of them.”
Reyerson battled foul trouble all game long and missed time in the third and fourth quarters when she was whistled for her fourth with around 1:30 to play in the third.
“We’ve got to have her. We don’t have a lot of rebounding or an inside game with her on the bench,” Zeller said. “She is still learning to play the role of starter. She came off the bench last year and went hard and didn’t worry about the fouls.”
Damon had seven points and seven rebounds in the game for the Tigers, while Haley Lawrence grabbed a game-high 16 rebounds in the win. Boomgarden had seven boards, three assists and three steals as well.
Reyerson grabbed eight rebounds and Freland chipped in seven boards and three steals in the loss. The Trojans were just 7-of-11 from the line in the game.
South Hardin travels to East Marshall on Friday, while West Marshall heads to Ackley to face AGWSR.