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Hermon-DeKalb’s second half turnaround sparks win

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HAMMOND - Hermon-DeKalb exited Hammond on Tuesday evening feeling lucky.

The Demons (9-1, 7-0) escaped a determined Hammond effort 51-50 to remain one game ahead of Heuvelton in the NAC West Division Girls Basketball standings.

“We were lucky to come out of here winners,” said H-D coach Steve Morrill.

“We didn’t play well at all in the first half and Hammond had a great game and really did what they wanted to us in the first half. But I liked the way my team battled and just chipped and chipped away.”

The Devils (6-5, 5-2) took it right to the Demons from the start running their offense to almost perfection scoring off screens and literally beating Hermon-DeKalb to rebounds.

Balanced scoring helped the Devils to a 28-17 lead at halftime which eventually grew early in the third to 16 on a Courtney Bova three-pointer.

But the Demons, who fired in three third quarter threes. whittled the deficit to 38-33. Back to back threes for Bridget Rust and Hunter Hitchman gave H-D a 39-38 lead and Morgan Stott worked inside for the Demons for a 41-38 advantage early in the fourth quarter.

Cassi Whalen scored in traffic to answer for Hammond but Courtney Harrington scored the Demons next four points for a 45-40 lead. Whalen answered with 2:28 to play to cut the deficit to 45-42 for Hammond but Hitchman hit four straight free throws for a 49-42 Demon advantage with 1:16 to play.

Aly Crosby scored baskets with 1:00 and 37.6 remaining before Hitchman nailed two more charity stripe points with 32.9 seconds left.

Whalen went 1-2 at the foulline and Paige Frisina buried a three for Hammond at the buzzer to close out the scoring.

“Bridget Rust buried some big threes for us in the second half and Hunter Hitchman delivered at the foul line. We got some rebounds in the second half that we didn’t in the first. But Hammond came right back at us in the end,” said Demon coach Morrill.

“I thought we played well but unlike last year, when in the final minutes of the game, we would put the ball in Alyssa Crosby’s hands and she would take over. We haven’t found that person yet. But believe me we’re edging closer and closer with every game and we are going to surprise somebody really quick. Even though we lost our last two games, its been a moral victory. Because our younger players including Paige Frisina and Aly Crosby are gaining confidence every game,” said Hammond coach Shawn Dack.

Hitchman finished 9-10 at the foul line in a 18 point, five steal, three assist performance for H-D. Rust logged 16 points on four threes and had four steals. Stott chipped in five points, eight rebounds, three assists and five steals while Harrington posted seven points, four blocks, two rebounds. Kasey O’Donnell chipped in six boards six assists, three steals and two points.

Whalen finished with 13 points to pace Hammond. Frisina scored 10 points for Hammond while Courtney Bova added eight with two threes. Ally Crosby (six), Tayler Bowman (five), Hailey Ogden (four), and Mikayla Horton (four) rounded out the Devils scoring.

In the junior varsity game, Hammond won a 33-28 decision playing without scoring leader Sierra Fleming. Melissa Proven scored nine points, Lilly Langtry tallied eight and Morgan Haley scored six for Hammond. Brianna Harrington tallied 17 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for H-D. Kayna Fenlong scored six and Zarina Hernandez added five.

HEUVELTON BOYS WIN

HARRISVILLE - Heuvelton survived 42-41 at Harrisville in NAC West Division play after the Pirates scored the final four points in the game and missed a shot at the buzzer. Jeff Arquitt scored 13 points, Jack Palmer tallied 12 and Mike Martin logged 11 with three threes for Heuvelton. Brendan Best scored 15 for Harrisville and Tim Fowler added 10.

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