Hebron defense stifles Starkville Christian

Micah Thompson attempts a free throw in Hebron Christian's 32-10 win over Starkville Christian.
Staff Writer

The Hebron Christian girls varsity team held Starkville Christian to just two points until the 3:32 mark in the fourth quarter, when head coach William Cotton began substituting his reserves in the game. Hebron would come away with a 32-10 victory.

The Lady Eagles came out of the gate playing sloppy offensively, but defense was their calling card, as Hebron pulled ahead 26-2 after three quarters of play.

“Our defense was superb,” Cotton said. “We’ve already played them once and knew they were going to try and feed the ball in to the big girl, so we doubled her up on the low post.”

Rachael McGrew put Hebron Christian on the board first with a layup, as the Lady Eagles took a 6-0 lead with 4:39 left in the first quarter. From that point forward, Hebron was unable to make another basket, leading 6-2 after one quarter of play. Starkville Christian’s lone bucket came from Olivia Moore.

There was not much scoring in a second quarter that saw the Lady Eagles outscore Starkville Christian 4-0. McGrew drained a turnaround jumper and Caralee Smith gathered a rebound and made a layup with 5:38 remaining until halftime. From that point, the offense was unable to get in a groove and Cotton called for his team to hold the ball for the final 3:30 of the half, giving Hebron a 10-2 halftime lead.

“We went cold as ice in the second quarter and I decided, since we weren’t hitting anything, that I’d just freeze the ball and see if we could make them come out and get us, and maybe we could drive to the goal on them,” Cotton said. “They never would come out and get us, so we just went in and changed a few things at halftime.”

The offense finally came alive for the Lady Eagles in the second half, as they outscored the Lady Cougars 16-0 in the third quarter. McGrew hit a baseline jumper with 3:23 left in the quarter to give Hebron a 13-2 lead. From that point, Eliana Carter went on a scoring spree with 7 points in the final three minutes of the third, including a three-point basket and a buzzer-beating layup that made the score 26-2 after three quarters.

“We came out in the third quarter pressuring the ball more, while in the first half we kind of laid back on defense,” Cotton said. “That worked fine, but we weren’t producing any points off of turnovers, so we came back out with my three guards putting pressure on the ball and creating some turnovers.”

With the score 26-2 with just over four minutes remaining, Cotton began to gradually substitute his reserves for his starters. After a two quarter-plus drought, the Lady Cougars were finally able to make a basket to cut the lead to 26-4. The Lady Eagles would win the contest 32-10.

“We are still struggling with our ball handling and our shooting,” Cotton said. “The last two ball games have been horrible shooting-wise. We are forcing shots and I haven’t figured out what’s wrong yet.”
Carter would lead all scorers with 16 points, four rebounds and three steals, while McGrew and Smith finished with six apiece. McGrew finished with seven rebounds and three steals, while Smith grabbed five rebounds and six steals. McKinsey Wedel led the team in rebounding, pulling down 10 rebounds. Mary Driskel led the Lady Cougars in scoring with four points.

The Lady Eagles improve to 8-2 and will travel to face Strider on Friday night. Friday’s contest will be Hebron’s last until the East Webster Holiday Tournament on December 28-30.