By Brad Morris
After allowing Washington Court House score 29 first-half points on Tuesday, host New Hope Christian tightened up its defense to yield the Blue Lions just five field goals over the final 16 minutes to rally for a 51-43 win.
“We talked during halftime about picking it up on the defensive end, because we allowed (Washington Court House) too many good looks at the basket and too many second-chance points there during the first half,” New Hope coach Brian McCallister. “I felt like we played with more intensity and competed better during the second half.”
Maren McCallister dropped 12 points on the Blue Lions during a first quarter where the senior forward shot 5 of 8 (62.5 percent) from the field and helped her team out to an early 13-3 lead.
“It’s obviously not a secret that a lot of what we do on offense runs through Maren,” McCallister said. “She can get to the basket, score off offensive rebounds and also knock down shots.
“Our girls did a nice job of getting the basketball to Maren in good spots to score from.”
The Blue Lions (1-11) countered by scoring 13 of the final 15 points in the quarter, with Maggi Wall leading the way with five points, to take a 16-15 lead into the second quarter.
Washington Court House led by as many as six points during the second quarter, thanks in part to Calleigh Wead-Salmi scoring seven points, before settling on a 29-26 halftime advantage.
“We have nine of the nicest girls that someone would want to meet, but another issue we had at different points in the game was needing to be stronger with the basketball, both handling it and also on rebounds,” McCallister said.
New Hope turned the tide of the game with a 15-6 third quarter to regain the lead for good.
Four players scored during the balanced run for the Statesmen, paced by Jenna Tripp drilling a pair of triples, McCallister scoring four points and Kayla Williams adding a three-pointer.
“We have some shooters, like Jenna, who can knock down the three and we got some nice contributions there in the third quarter to regain some momentum and make a run,” McCallister said.
The Statesmen took a 41-35 lead into the fourth quarter and pushed their advantage to as many as 10, following a layup from Chesnee Hines with 5:05 remaining.
McCallister, a Concordia commitment, fouled out approximately halfway through the fourth quarter. The Statesmen turned to Tripp for a big three-pointer from the right corner, and a pair of free throws courtesy of Ivy Hines, to hold off the Blue Lions.
“That’s not typical for Maren to foul out of a game and that obviously hurt us down the stretch. When you take the best player off any team in crunch time, that’s going to happen,” McCallister said. “I was proud of Jenna for stepping up and hitting a huge three and then for Ivy to go to the line and knock down those two free throws. That gave us just enough offense to hold off (Washington Court House).”
McCallister paced the Statesmen with a double-double of 26 points and 12 rebounds, Tripp tallied 12 points and Williams added six points.
Calleigh-Wead Salmi tallied 14 points and Allie Mongold followed with nine points and five assists for the Blue Lions.
The Statesmen (7-3) host Horizon Science on Saturday.
New Hope Christian 51,
Washington Court House 43
WASHINGTON COURT HOUSE — Allie Mongold 4-0-9, Calleigh Wead-Salmi 4-6-14, Eliana Racine 2-0-4, Megan Sever 1-0-2, Maggi Wall 3-0-7, Calee Ellars 2-1-7. Three-point goals — Ellars (2), Mongold and Wall Total — 16 7-12 43.
NEW HOPE — Jenna Tripp 4-0-12, Eden Leist 0-1-1, Maren McCallister 10-5-26, Ivy Hines 2-0-4, Chesnee Hines 1-0-2, Kayla Williams 2-0-6. Three-point goals — Tripp (4), Williams (2) and McCallister. Total — 18 7-12 51
Quarter scores 1 2 3 4 F
Wash C.H. 16 13 6 8 43
New Hope 15 11 15 10 51