Blackhawk Christian extends record season with 47-40 Sectional win over Bethany Christian

Something about the third quarter was just different Tuesday night. The energy and flow in that quarter alone was game changing as Blackhawk Christian pushed by Bethany Christian 47-40 in the first round of Sectional play.

The Braves, coming off a program best 15 win regular season, entered their host Sectional with a lot of momentum but plenty of pressure. All of the sudden, everyone paying attention to Sectional 51 was looking their way.

After the Bruins were able to push back in the third quarter, it was Blackhawk Christian sophomore Hailee Kline that drove things back her team’s way with a big three out of a timeout that pushed the Braves lead from two to five points. And it was junior Lydia Stayton that kept the momentum her team’s way for good converting all three points of an and-one with 2.9 seconds left in the third frame.

It was an impressive push back for a team with just three seniors and plenty of girls still figuring out the varsity pace.

“Last year they were asked to go into situations where normally freshmen and sophomores would not be in, but that has helped us,” said Blackhawk Christian coach Stephanie Gongaware. “We’ve had some growing pains but I think they have been in situations before that have helped lead them to deliver in these games now.”

The Braves were good at taking advantage of long possessions at various points during Tuesday’s contest. After scoring the first five points of the game, they went up 8-2 on a Kline triple near the Blackhawk Christian students section after burning near 60 seconds off the clock. Bethany Christian drew chances to climb closer in the first as the Braves made some errant passes, but unless the Bruins were point blank at the rim, they struggled to score early.

Blackhawk Christian struggled to start the second quarter in their quest to continue running their offense through Sammie Miller in the high post. The Bruins did a quality job of using their 2-3 zone to make the Braves alter things. Yet, it was still the Braves to created offensively, gaining fast break opportunities out of their own 3-2 zone while Bethany Christian couldn’t find any traction and only had 12 points at halftime.

Blackhawk Christian’s Hailee Kline looks to inbound the ball as Braves coach Stephanie Gongaware (background) looks on during February 4’s Class 1A Sectional game against Bethany Christian.

Kline delivered down the stretch of the first half as Stayton was able to work out of a troublesome trap on the baseline. Blackhawk Christian was able to rotate the ball around to the left side of the court where Kline’s dribble drive helped end a stagnant stretch in the second quarter.

Bethany Christian was able to cut it to a six point deficit at 22-16 in the third and then put solid pressure on the Braves in the full court, forcing a timeout with 4:55 left. Pressure forced another errant pass off the hands of Stayton and Bethany had a chance to tighten gap, which they did by going to Mariah Miller who bullied her way to the basket through contact twice to narrow the Bruins’ deficit to just 22-20.

“Credit to Bethany, they are a very good team. Solid fundamentals, great coached and so we are just glad to get that one behind us,” Gongaware said.

That was when Kline buried her critical triple, only to be answered by a Miller and-one on the other end. But the Braves were too much with their pressure to end the quarter, leading to Stayton’s takeaway and finish with 2.9 seconds left in the third and a 32-23 lead heading into the final quarter.

“Lydia really stepped up anticipating. I think defensively, we just had to stress pressure a little but more because it is harder for them to see the opening. Our defense did a good job and picked it up,” Gongaware said. “I don’t think, for the most part, our defense was very great. But in that third quarter, there were good moments of pressuring and anticipating that pass.”

Down the stretch, all Blackhawk Christian needed to do was maintain after that big third quarter. Aubree Vander Dussen was strong in her drives to the basket into contact. She was able to get to the free throw line often in the fourth quarter, helping to hold Bethany Christian at bay. With 4:30 left, it was Vander Dussen driving and dishing to Miller that pushed the lead to nine at 36-27. Miller then went to the line a minute later on Bethany Christian’s 10th foul of the half, versus just two at that point for the Braves.

Hallie Vander Dussen
Blackhawk Christian’s Hallie Vander Dussen brings the ball up the court against the pressure of Bethany Christian’s Maddie Chupp during the first half of February 4’s Class 1A Sectional.

That discrepancy was no mistake. Blackhawk Christian’s defense was smoother and more accommodating. While they struggled to stop the Bruins at the rim throughout parts of the second half, they played disciplined with their hands and feet. Meanwhile, Bethany Christian couldn’t help but come down on Braves when they got near the rim. Although Bethany Christian kept fighting, a Kline three with 3:07 left was the final answer to extend the lead to 10 points at 41-31.

“You know, that first game is always so hard so we were grateful that we drew the first game,” Gongaware said. “There are always those nerves playing in a Sectional, knowing you could be done any moment.”

Kline led Blackhawk Christian with a game high 18 points. Lily Helmuth added eight points and Aubree Vander Dussen scored seven. Six total players scored for the Braves, who went 16-of-21 from the free throw line.

The Bruins never came closer than seven points in the final minutes of the game. Blackhawk Christian will now advance to play Fremont on Friday in the 7:30 p.m. game at Blackhawk.

1 Trackback / Pingback

  1. 2020 Girls hoops Sectional schedule and scores – Outside the Huddle

Leave a Reply