The Hesston College women’s basketball team shrugged off a slow start to come back and defeat the visiting Southeast Community College (Beatrice, Neb.) Storm 80-78. The Larks were unable to find their offensive flow in the first half, trailing by 10 points midway through the second quarter. Hesston was able to chip away at the Storm lead, only trailing 42-39 at halftime. The Larks drastically improved their 25% shooting from the field in the second half.
Hesston started finding their rhythm and eventually took a four-point lead, 63-59, going into the final frame. A layup by freshman forward Carissa Slabach (Newton, Kan.) pushed the Hesston lead to 63-54, their largest of the half at 9.
A back and forth final quarter saw the Larks convert a few clutch free throws to seal the win. After an inbounds play led to a technical foul called on the Storm, with the Larks trailing 78-77, freshman point guard Connor Atkinson (Hutchinson, Kan.) made two throws and the Larks were awarded possession. Atkinson converted 1 of 2 free throws on a subsequent foul to push the Lark lead to 80-78. The Storm had a final chance as they pushed the ball up the court, but missed a deep shot as time expired.
In her usual style, Atkinson made several key shots including five three-pointers, finishing with 21 points to lead Hesston College. Coach Jacobs received balanced scoring as three other players finished in double figures. Freshman forward Kara Horton (Americus, Kan.) scored 18 points going 12 of 13 from the free throw line. Slabach finished with 15 points, and freshman center Netanya Harrison (Omaha, Neb.) added 11. Ja’yla Brown was a force inside for Southeast, scoring a game high 23 points.
“We played like we practice, very hard,” coach Jeff Jacobs commented after the game. “It was very physical and we fought back and got them frustrated. The fourth quarter charge Aleena (Cook) took for us was the game changer.”
Hesston College women’s basketball looks for their fourth straight win on Dec. 3 at Union College (Lincoln, Neb.). Tipoff is 8 p.m.