Girls win on Senior Night
The Hillcrest girls picked up a big win on senior night over the Columbus Wildcats, 45-30.
The Ravens got off to a strong start behind an early bucket by Esther Hughes in the open court followed by a Yani Gutierrez free throw. The Wildcats answered with a bucket, but from the 5:50 mark on it was Gutierrez who stole the show in the first quarter. The Ravens closed out the first quarter on a 17-3 run paced by 14 from Gutierrez including three-threes.
The Ravens continued to find success in the second quarter but this time it was Hughes that stepped up and knocked down five jumpers, including a buzzer beater at the end of the half. “The difference in the first half was our defense and just flat out knocking down shots off set pieces,” Hillcrest head coach Kari Heusinkveld said. “We communicated well, forced tough shots and secured rebounds. We did a really nice job of just limiting Columbus to one-and-done possessions.” The Ravens went into the locker room with a 31-9 advantage.
Out of the break both teams got off to a slow start, but it was Hillcrest that jumped on the board first. Back-to-back buckets by Hughes and then a full court attack and dish to Meredith Blossom set the tone during the third. The Ravens continued to stay locked in on defense and held Columbus scoreless until the seven-minute mark in the fourth.
The Wildcats made things interesting down the stretch, but the Ravens had enough of a cushion and continued to fight to secure the win. “This was a great win for our team,” Heusinkveld said. “You could see this type of performance coming over the last two games. You wouldn’t notice it by looking at the scores, but the cohesiveness of this group and in game situations shifted significantly. Tonight was our night, and the girls deserved this win. I’m glad that we could send our seniors out with such a positive win at home and have enjoyed working with each of them over the course of their careers.” Following the game seniors Sarena Gerber, Mia Graber and Danae McGaffey were recognized.
Hughes led the Ravens with a new career high 24 points, two assists and six rebounds. Gutierrez recorded yet another double-double with 19 points and a new career high 21 rebounds. She also dished out four assists and picked up two steals. Blossom rounded out the scoring with a bucket. Gerber pulled in seven rebounds, tallied two assists and picked up two steals. Leah Bontrager secured eight rebounds.
Hillcrest moves to 2-17 overall, 1-15 in conference play. The girls take to the road for a make up game at Pekin on Thursday, February 6th. Tipoff is set for 6:30 PM.