*This story was featured in the Jan. 15th edition of the Hastings Tribune.
WOOD RIVER – Both teams entered Thursday night’s game on six-game losing streaks, so something had to give.
Despite forcing 31 turnovers and winning the turnover battle 31-18, the Fillmore Central girls’ basketball team fell to Wood River by a score of 54-40. Ines Ortea led the Panthers with 17 points and 7 rebounds on 5-18 shooting.
Ortea’s ability to both score and pass was important for the Panthers’ offense.
“She’s able to create off the dribble, which is huge for us,” Fillmore Central Head Coach Shad Eberhardt said. “She’s good at finding teammates and finding openings in the defense.”
The Panthers’ defense was active from the beginning, forcing nine turnovers in the first quarter alone. But Wood River was able to overcome those turnovers and went on an 11-0 run to start the game, thanks to field goals from Seniors Cierra Huxtable and Sam Leuhr. Junior Haley Hiatt added four of her (insert final) points and was the only Panther to score from the field in the first quarter.
Both teams struggled to score in the second quarter, with the lone field goal make coming from Leuhr, who finished with a game-high 18 points and 10 rebounds. The Panthers defense caused Wood River problems again the second quarter, this time causing 10 turnovers. But the Panther offense lacked firepower, failing to score a field goal in the second quarter. Wood River led 21-13 at halftime.
Filmore Central’s Ines Ortea took over in the third quarter, scoring six unanswered points, in what would be a ten-point quarter for the senior guard. Hiatt also contributed three points and the Wood River lead was down to three entering the fourth quarter.
The Eagles cut down on turnovers in the fourth quarter and subsequently increased their lead. Leuhr finishd a layup early in the quarter, but Ortea answered with a steal that led to an easy layup to tie the game at 34.
Senior Emily Loy nabbed a steal and finished a layup to put the Eagles up six with just under three minutes remaining. Huxtable had a late steal that turned into two points, followed by a bucket Leuhr.
Fillmore Central’s losing streak is now at seven games, but Eberhardt believes his team is doing everything they can to put themselves in good positions to win.
“We just have to keep playing hard and keep grinding. We’ve been close in all these games and we’ve been working our tails off,” Eberhardt said. “It just hasn’t worked out for us so far in the end of games. We’ve done a lot of good things, but we’ve don enough bad things to counteract our good things.”
Fillmore Central (40)
Ellie Hayes 0-1 0-2 0, Emileigh Kennel 1-2 0-0 2, Haley Hiatt 3-9 3-4 9, Jamey Bremon 1-8 2-2 4, Ashton O’Brien 0-7 2-2 2, Ines Ortea 5-18 7-13 17, McKenzie Scheil 1-1 1-2 3, Alwa Temme 0-1 3-4 3
Wood River (54)
Ainsley Stewart 1-1 2-4 4, Lily Woitaszewski 0-3 2-2 2, Cierra Huxtable 5-6 0-0 10, Emily Loy 4-12 0-0 8, Kiley Codner 1-1 0-0 3, Elle Luehr 2-3 0-0 4, Sam Luehr 4-8 8-12 18, Sloane Tiarks 0-1 2-3 2, MaKenzie Peters 1-1 1-1 3