The Lady Lions of Lone Tree roared ahead to a 6-0 lead off two three-point shots instantly before the Hillcrest Ravens scored four points of their own. This was the most competitive the game would be …
The Lady Lions of Lone Tree roared ahead to a 6-0 lead off two three-point shots instantly before the Hillcrest Ravens scored four points of their own. This was the most competitive the game would be as Lone Tree ran away with a 71-29 romp, keeping Hillcrest winless and extending their win streak to three games.
Leading the charge for Lone Tree was freshman, Finley Jacque, and sophomore, Vivian Zaruba, combining for 45 points, more than half of the team’s combined offense. Jacque’s three-point shot was almost automatic from the right wing, making six of eight three-point shots. Each time Jacque hit a three, the audience roared with a booming applause. Zaruba also had a good night from the opposing wing, hitting four three-point shots. The duo was very dynamic.
Lone Tree head coach, Ryan Shelman, was very impressed with the start his team had. Shelman was especially impressed with the team effort surrounding Jacque and Zaruba, which helped them shine.
“We definitely started quick and that was something we talked about, to make sure that we start quick and make sure that we get after it. Our defense press and pressure really got after [Hillcrest] early and it just led into some transition buckets for us,” Shelman said. “[We] let our defense turn into offense.”
Despite it being the 15th loss of the year for the Ravens, sophomore, Malia Yoder, continued to impress. If the Ravens had a scoring chance, you could bet on Yoder being right there to control the action. Yoder’s great play continued in the second quarter when she made a great pass through the defense to get an assist. Yoder had another great individual moment, zooming down the court, splitting the defense to get a layup, drawing a penalty, and banking the free throw shot as well. Yoder’s impressive individual performance did not stop when she laid a very slick pass between the legs of a defender to set up a scoring chance that was unsuccessful.
Yoder led the Ravens with 11 points. Freshman Claire Withrow had six points and sophomore, Kylee Statler, had five.
Lone Tree’s defense was very aggressive. They did not allow Hillcrest to get much going at all, blocking many shots. Lone Tree’s aggressive play was rewarded when they jumped to a 35 plus point lead in the third quarter, benefitting from the continuous time clock.
“The nice thing about our team is that we’re pretty balanced scoring. We do a good job of shooting the basketball, we move it around well, but most of all, we play defense,” Shelman said. “They shot the ball well tonight, as a team. Anybody on any given night can have a good night for us it seems like here lately. So, just trying to find the hot hand and try to move the ball to them, I think our girls did a good job of finding the hot hand and especially getting Vivian [Zaruba] some looks there in the third quarter. Finley [Jacque] did a good job of trying to find her.”
In the fourth quarter, Hillcrest Freshman Niva Helmuth, who led her team in rebounds, made an impressive dive to keep the ball in play, sending her through the gym doors and into the Lone Tree hallways. After this moment, Lone Tree was able to send in the reserves to play the final two minutes, which led to sloppy play and many missed field goals. In the final two minutes, Hillcrest scored the only points, a three pointer off the hands of Statler.
The Lone Tree crowd loved seeing the reserves. Each time the ball was shot, the crowd would cheer. When each shot bounced away from the net, the crowd would dramatically scream “no” in unison. The atmosphere in this small-town basketball game was extremely energetic.
Lone Tree will host Pekin on Friday, January 27.
Hillcrest will travel to Waco on Friday, January 27.
Lone Tree 71, Hillcrest 29
Lone Tree 27 18 23 3 -- 71
Hillcrest 10 7 9 3 -- 29
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