South Western High head coach Jana Bonds was concerned with how her team would respond on Saturdat after the Mustangs' game against West York on Friday was cancelled due to snow.
So concerned in fact, that she had her team arrive early Saturday to run through a short make-shift practice.
"We need every practice and we need every game on our schedule," Bonds said. "So with the weather, it was really not good for us. The early practice was just to get the girls in the right mindset and get them prepared. I knew to get them here cold turkey today would have been really bad. All the girls came in and they were focused from the start, and I think it showed."
Indeed it did.
The Mustangs opened the game on an 8-0 run en route to a 46-33 win over crosstown rival Hanover.
"For any team (a quick start) is huge, but especially for our team," Bonds said. "The momentum that you pick up with a quick lead against a quality team like Hanover is incredibly important. We talked about that coming into this game. You can't wait to play, you have to come out from the tip and every possession is important. Our girls definitely did that today."
The Mustangs hit their first three shot attempts and held Hanover scoreless for the first three minutes of the game. South Western held Hanover without a field goal for the entire first quarter, taking a 17-2 lead into the second quarter. It was not until 16 seconds into the second quarter that Hanover hit its first field goal.
"I think that was the key to winning the game," Mustang guard Jenna Hoffnagle said. "We needed to get out right away and we did."
For the second time this week, the Hawkettes struggled to get going on a day when they did not have school.
"I just thought we did not start the game well," Hanover head coach Denny Garman said. "We were not focused, in my opinion. That is on me. I have to figure out what needs to happen for our girls to be focused. Monday, we came out the same way and didn't have school either day, so I do not know if there is a correlation there or not. That is on me. I have to get our girls focused on games to start better."
Hoffnagle led the way for the Mustangs throughout the contest as she scored a team-high 15 points, including nine from behind the arc.
"I think hitting shots early is definitely a confidence booster because you know you are ready to go." Hoffnagle said. "Even if I am not on, I still have to keep my confidence and know that soon the shots will fall."
"Jenna has been playing for me now for the past four seasons," Bonds said. "She really has matured. At the start of the season, I was really seeing some of her sophmore and junior mistakes, but I have to say her and all the seniors, I am really starting to see it all click. All year, I have told them that I need them to be leaders on and off the court, and today they did it."
The Mustangs held a 20-point lead heading into the fourth quarter and Hanover started to mount a comeback. Hanover forced South Western into eight fourth-quarter turnovers and started to wear down the Mustangs. The Hawkettes quickly cut the lead to 13 points, but were unable to get any closer.
"I think it was fatigue," Bonds said. "I could see it on their faces. I hadn't subbed much during the game. You could see it on their faces. They were mentally and physically gone. I am glad that they stayed together until the end."
"We just got aggressive too late," Garman said. "I think it was a focus thing. The first half, we were doing some things that we really haven't shown all year and things we haven't done up until this point. Give credit to South Western because they forced us into that. In that fourth quarter, we played with some urgency and a lot more passion."
This was the first time Hanover and South Western faced each other in girls' basketball since the 1999-2000 season, but it is a tradition that Garman and Bonds are eager to continue.
"This is something I am willing to do every year," Garman said. "It is a local rivalry and we both want to play the game. As long as (Bonds and I) are the coaches, we will play this game."
Soukaina Tracy led the Hawkettes with 17 points.
Despite the loss, Garman knows his team can get better.
"We just have to watch the film on Monday and learn from it." he said.
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Soukaina Tracy 6 5-7 17, Cleary 3 0-0 6, Barnes 0 4-7 4, Yealy 2 0-0 4, Nall 1 0-0 2, Drawbaugh 0 0-4 0, Z. Tracy 0 0-0 0, Silver 0 0-0 0, Bowersox 0 0-0 0, Gibson 0 0-0 0, Smith 0 0-0 0, Hammond 0 0-0 0. Totals 12 9-18 33.
SOUTH WESTERN (48)
Jenna Hoffnagle 6 0-0 15, Spigelmyer 2 5-8 9, Thomas 4 1-2 9, Arey 2 0-2 4, Schmidt 2 0-0 4, Crump 1 0-2 2, Bull 1 0-0 2, Dell 0 1-2, Rebert 0 0-0 0. Totals 18 7-16 46.
Hanover 2 11 12 8 -- 33
South Western 17 12 14 3 -- 46
3-point goals -- South Western 3 (Hoffnagle 3).
JV score -- South Western 57, Hanover 26.