Warriors Battle Crusaders in Last Regular Games of the Season
By KRISTAN KORNS, Two Rivers Tribune
JV Girls Undefeated in League Play
The JV Lady Warriors hit the ground running with a relentless offense and a solid defense on Friday, Feb. 8, as they faced off against the St. Bernard’s Crusaders in Hoopa’s “Warrior Dome”.
By the end of the first quarter, the score stood at 12-3. Going into the second quarter, the Crusaders seemed to wilt and the Lady Warriors dominated the court.
A flurry of passes between Hoopa players ended with the ball in Vanessa Bussell’s hands as she sank the first basket of the quarter, bringing the score to 14-3.
St. Bernard’s responded with a charge for the basket that gained them half the points they’d see for the quarter.
Moments later Namechi Frank snatched the ball, ran the entire length of the court, and passed to Winnie Carpenter who dunked for another two points.
It wasn’t long before a foul against Geena Talley put her on the free throw line where she made both shots, putting the score at 18-5.
Carpenter scored her second two-pointer for the quarter, followed-up by a two-pointer from Talley.
The Lady Warriors scored six more points before the defense allowed the Crusaders to sneak in a basket of their own, ending the second quarter 28-7.
At half-time, JV Girl’s Coach Jessica Ammon said, “We’ve really progressed. I’m pretty proud of this group of girls.”
“We’re officially done for the season after these next 16 minutes. If we win this game, we’ll take league undefeated,” Ammon said.
The Lady Warriors didn’t let up on the Crusaders in the second half. By the time it was all over, the scoreboard read 58-11.
Carpenter sank more baskets than the entire opposing team, and Rhea McCoy was close behind her.
Naishian Richards said, “We’re undefeated! This is the last game of my freshman year and it felt great!”
Before the game, player Adrian Rodriguez talked about the last time the JV Hoopa boys played against St. Bernard’s.
“It was a decent game. St. Bernard’s always gives us a challenge,” Rodriguez said.
The Crusaders did give the Warriors more of a fight than the first game of the night, and even scooted ahead by two points in the middle of the first quarter.
A strong defense, combined with consistent scoring from players Nah-Tes Jackson and Gary Juan, along with nice three-pointers from Clifford Ferris and Ben Sanderson quickly piled on a comfortable lead and kept it throughout most of the game.
There was a last minute flurry of baskets from St. Bernard’s, as they tried to pull out all the stops and come from behind. It narrowed the gap but it was too little, too late for the Crusaders.
JV Hoopa defeated St. Bernard’s 47-40.
Lady Warrior Cecilia Moore said before the game, “We lost by four last time. We’re going to play a tough game and set harder screens.”
Assistant JV Girl’s Coach Rico Tello said, “If we shoot well, we should beat them.”
The Crusaders scored the first two baskets and the Warriors quickly countered, with Jurnie Wilder scoring two two-pointers to tie the score.
St. Bernard’s sank another two-pointer of their own, but Maggie Joe Jarnaghan followed with a three-pointer that ended the first quarter 7-6.
Wilder sank the first basket of the second quarter, followed by two from St. Bernard’s.
Lillian Jarnaghan and Stella Jarnaghan both scored two-pointers, followed by a free throw from the Crusaders, and Maggie Joe Jarnaghan ended the second quarter the same way she ended the first: with a three-pointer.
The Lady Warriors came back from half-time with a comfortable 16-11 lead, and then everything fell apart for the team.
The Crusaders came into the second half bursting with newfound energy, pushed aside the Lady Warriors’ defense, and sank basket after basket.
Senior Alexis O’Rourke scored Hoopa’s only three points in the third quarter when she sank a two-pointer and made a free throw.
Hoopa fought back hard in the fourth quarter, but they couldn’t close the gap.
St. Bernard’s defeats Hoopa 52-37.
Varsity Boys Headed to the Playoffs
The last game of the night was an unexpected nail-biter, after the one-sided defeat of St. Bernard’s earlier in the season.
“We smashed them,” Senior Brandon Colegrove said. “We beat them by 50; it was 49 to 99.”
The Crusaders remembered that game too and came back with a vengeance and a lot more fight in them the second time around.
St. Bernard’s sank the first two baskets of the game, before fouling Warrior Andrew Sorrell who made two free throws to put Hoopa on the scoreboard.
Both teams fought hard, and the score see-sawed back and forth, with first one team leading and then the other.
Hoopa was behind by a point, when Milton Stewart sank a two-pointer, followed quickly by three baskets in a row from Colegrove.
The hometown crowd stamped their feet and clapped and cheered loudly as the Warriors pulled ahead, but the Crusaders were far from done.
Two two-pointers and a three-pointer from St. Bernard’s put them back in the lead, and the first quarter ended with Hoopa down 14-16.
The Warriors came back in the second quarter on fire, with Moon shooting a two-pointer and Colgrove and Stewart dunking multiple baskets.
A free throw from Colegrove with 19.7 seconds left in the first half tied the score at 30-30.
Then Stewart grabbed the ball, ran the length of the court, and was fouled with just six seconds left. He made both free throws, putting Hoopa in the lead 32-30 going into half-time.
Tahn Blake said, “It’s a lot closer than we thought it would be. A lot closer.”
Coming back for the second half, the Warriors widened their lead before the Crusaders jumped back to the top of the scoreboard.
Several excellent plays from Dakota Mosier weren’t enough to get ahead of St. Bernard’s, and Hoopa ended the quarter down by three points, 49-52.
The crowd started to get louder, shaking the stands while they stamped their feet. Rhythmic chants of “Hoopa! Warriors!” echoed off the walls.
Charlie Moon’s first three-pointer tied the score, closely followed by his second three-pointer that put the Warriors in the lead.
The Crusaders called a timeout with 7:34 left in the game, and the crowd stamped their feet and clapped their hands even louder.
The Warriors came back from the timeout seemingly energized by the outpouring of support from the hometown crowd.
Stewart, Colegrove, Blake, Buck Risling, and Tule O’Rourke added more and more points to the board to widen Hoopa’s lead from three points to 16 points by the time it was all over.
Hoopa defeats St. Bernard’s, 82-66.