HASTINGS — After defeating the College of Saint Mary on a last-second basket on Wednesday, no one would’ve blamed the Hastings College Women’s Basketball team for having a lingering hangover against Mount Marty on Saturday. But that certainly wasn’t the case.
Hastings used their last game against Mount Marty, a 75-73 loss on Dec. 19, as fuel for their game today.
“Because the way we lost to Mount Marty, I think that was pretty fresh in their minds and they were ready to go,” Hastings College Head Coach Jina Johansen said. “You can tell during practice we were ready to go and we were pretty focused today.”
Hastings was dominant on offensively and defensively to start the game, in large part, because of Hild’s ability to score and guard Mount Marty’s premier scorer, Alex Kneeland.
“Holly did a great job all around. I thought at the start of the game she had a ton of energy and was ready to go. She’s probably our best premier defender in terms of trying to lock people down and that’s not an easy task,” Johansen said. “Kneeland is good, but she (Hild) was locked in, did a good job and made her work for a ton of shots.”
Hild, who finished with 14 points, made a three-pointer to get the Broncos on the board and got a steal the following possession on the defensive end. Sophmore Rachel Jelden, who recorded 11 first half rebounds and finished with nine points and 15 rebounds, nabbed a rebound and finished a layup to put Hastings up 5-0 with 8:44 left in the first quarter.
Hild made a runner in the lane, then two possessions later made two free throws to extend the Bronco lead to nine. Hild made two free throws the following possession, before Teeka Thompson executed a crossover, finished the layup and made a free throw to extend the Bronco lead to double-digits.
Mount Marty Senior Alex Kneeland, who lead the Lancers with 21 points, got in on the action late in the first quarter. She made a three pointer and sunk two free throws the following possession to trim the Bronco lead to ten. Hastings College Senior Abby Jackson sunk a buzzer-beater, off-balance jumper to put the Broncos up 26-13 heading into the second quarter.
The Lancers got in a rhythm offensively in the second quarter, thanks an early deep three-pointer from Kneeland. The following possession Hastings College Senior Chelsea Morton snagged a rebound and made a three-pointer on the other end, putting the Broncos up 10 with just over eight minutes remaining in the quarter.
Kneeland hit another deep three-pointer, followed by a three-pointer from Mikayla Prouty that cut the Bronco lead to seven, midway through the quarter. Hild drove the lane and finished another layup at the 2:43 mark. Hastings led 36-27 at halftime.
Thompson scored the opening possession of the second half for Hastings on a layup and two possessions later Jelden netted two free throws to put the Broncos up 11. Mount Marty Senior Raquel Setura made a three-pointer at the 6:23 mark and the Bronco lead was down to eight.
Kneeland netted yet another deep three and on the next position Erica Dreckman gathered a rebound and finished a layup that cut the margin to five. After trading misses, Jelden finished a layup and a free throw to put the Broncos back up nine. Morton made a corner three with just seconds remaining in the third to put Hastings up 55-45 heading into the fourth quarter.
Mackenzie Willicott, who scored all nine points in the fourth quarter, made a layup early in the fourth to put Hastings up 10. Two possessions later Thompson got a steal and finished the layup to keep the lead at 10.
Willicott made a jumper at the free throw line to put the Broncos up 11 with 2:52 remaining. After two Bronco turnovers, Jackson made six late free throws and the Broncos held on to win 75-63.
The Broncos will take on rival Doane College on February 3 at 6 p.m. That game, along with the five other remaining regular season games, will have a big impact on the Broncos chances of making it to Sioux City for the national tournament.
“If we don’t play well from here on out, probably not,” Johansen said. “We have to make sure we play well, especially in February.”