There was magic in the air for the girls of Lynnville-Sully on Tuesday night as they knocked off first place North Mahaska, giving the Warhawks their first loss of the season 18 games in. Despite trailing early, the Hawks used a combination of defensive chatter, sharp outside shooting and a strong post presence to outlast North Mahaska 41-38.
Coach Jerry Hulsing was extremely proud of his team afterwards, especially after losing to North Mahaska by 14 early in the season.
“The first time we played them they were 11 of 17 from three point range. We knew we had to do a lot better job of defending the three, and we did that,” Hulsing said. “We just competed. The girls competed tonight. They laid it on the floor for 32 minutes, gave a great effort. We were more aggressive offensively taking the ball to the hole.”
The game started off very back and forth with a lot of physical play in the halfcourt offense. Feeding off the energy provided by a strong wave of support from the traveling North Mahaska fans, the Warhawks got up early and led 9-4 after the first quarter.
That five-point edge held up until about three minutes were left in the second period. Trailing 14-9 and facing a swarming Warhawks defense, a swing pass found Lynnville-Sully sophomore Madison Rasmusson for an improbable three pointer to pull the Hawks within two.
Strong interior defense on the other end forced a North Mahaska turnover and the Hawks tied the game with two minutes remaining in the half. A travelling violation and an inside bucket gave Lynnville-Sully their first lead at 16-14 with 20 seconds left in the second quarter. The Warhawks picked up a bucket on the last possession of the half, tying the game at 16.
In the third, North Mahaska came out determined to prove their dominance, which has been prevalent all season. A free-throw line jumper by Hayley LaRue, followed by a converted and-one, gave the Warhawks a 22-18 lead.
Lynnville-Sully started attacking inside, and their post game got them back within one at 25-24 with three minutes left. More back and forth play ensued with both teams attempting to work their inside game on offense. About a minute before the buzzer, Rasmusson nailed another three to give the Hawks a 28-27 lead headed into the final quarter.
A quick inside bucket allowed the Warhawks to regain the lead with six minutes left. Hulsing called a timeout and the Hawks came out with a renewed fire lit beneath them. Rasmusson hit a three-pointer to give the Hawks a 31-29 lead. Following a defensive stop, Cassie Cullen nailed another three.
Another defensive stop gave the ball back to the Hawks, who swung the ball around the perimeter and found Lyndsay Terpstra in the corner, who swished the third consecutive three for the Hawks. Lynnville-Sully’s nine straight points on three consecutive threes ultimately secured them the victory.
The game got intense at the end. Both teams missed and made their share of free throws, and there were four jump-balls in the final minute alone. On what was the final chance for the Warhawks, an open shot from the wing stuck right in the corner of the rim. Terpstra proceeded to make one of her two free throws, giving the Hawks a 3-point victory.
Trailing early and struggling to get into the flow of the offense, the Hawks came out in the second quarter with much more poise.
“I thought we had some early looks that we bobbled and kicked out of bounds,” Hulsing said. “Once we settled down and were aggressive going to the hole, we were able to finish those looks.”
Hulsing noted the key to holding on at the end relied on making free throws and staying on the attack.
“We knew they were going to foul us and it was all about making our free throws. We knew they were going to make a run and get back in it,” Hulsing said. “We just wanted to keep being aggressive and keep running some clock and I thought we did that.”
The Hawks will try to ride this emotional wave to their Friday game at BGM.
Lynnville-Sully 41, North Mahaska 38
N —9 7 11 11 — 38
L — 4 12 12 13 — 41
N — Boyle 13, LaRue 10, Ihde 6, Agan 5, Groenenboom 4
L — Rasmusson 13, James 11, Cullen 10, Terpstra 5, Van Rees 2