NORFOLK — Pressure defense wins basketball games, especially in the postseason.
Hartington Cedar Catholic’s full-court pressure defense took Elgin Public-Pope John out of their comfort zone Friday night, costing the Wolfpack their first-ever trip to the State Basketball Tournament.
Trailing by just nine points at halftime, the Wolfpack managed just four third quarter points en route to a 55 to 37 loss to the Lady Trojans.
The Wolfpack led just once in the game, early in the first quarter when senior Kasi Stoltz sank a shot from behind the three-point arc.
In what would be a recurring theme throughout the night, the Lady Trojans would run off points in spurts. They scored the next nine points to take an 11 to 3 lead midway through the quarter.
Michelle Bauer stopped the streak with a deuce. Stoltz scored the remainder of the Wolfpack’s points in the quarter (eight) as the Lady Trojans took a 21 to 13 lead.
In the second quarter, the Lady Trojans lead grew to 15 points with just over two minutes left before halftime. The Wolfpack then answered back with their best spurt of the game.
A free throw by Stoltz followed by a trey from Bauer gave the team some needed momentum. Then, with nine seconds to go before halftime, Bauer scored again to cut the Lady Trojans’ lead to just nine points at halftime.
Bauer, who sat out a number of games with a foot injury midway through the season, cut deeper into the Lady Trojans’ lead with the first score of the second half.
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