Ella Koloc’s basket with 11 seconds remaining was the difference as the West Delaware girls’ basketball team defeated the Mount Vernon Mustangs, 25-24, on Senior Night in Seedorf Gymnasium, Feb. 4.
The win snapped a nine-game losing streak for the Hawks and gave the team their second win of the year.
Tied 4-4 early, West Delaware went on a 9-0 run. A steal and basket by Kayla Felton were followed by a steal by Koloc, who made the basket and free throw after being fouled on the shot.
On the next Hawk possession, Felton scored courtesy of a Koloc assist. Alivia Schulte hit a pair of free throws with 1:30 left in the quarter for the 13-4 lead. Mount Vernon responded with a three-pointer from McKenzie Rentschler and the Hawks led 13-7 after the first quarter.
The Hawks struggled to score in the second and third quarters. But fortunately for the Hawks, so did the Mustangs.
Rentschler hit a free throw, then a three-pointer later in the second quarter to cut the Hawks lead to 13-11. Freshman Brooklyn Lewin hit a short jumper in the lane for West Delaware, giving the Hawks a 15-11 cushion.
Neither team could score the rest of the quarter and the Hawks took their 15-11 lead into halftime.
In the third quarter, leading 15-14, a pair of free throws by senior Danielle Krogmann gave the Hawks a 17-14 lead. Mount Vernon scored the last five points of the quarter and led 19-17 heading into the fourth.
Schulte slashed her way through traffic to score in the lane to tie the score. The Mustangs regained the lead before Felton’s two free throws knotted the score. On the next Hawk possession, Felton took the ball on an inbounds pass and banked in a basket to give the Hawks a 23-21 lead with 3:48 left.
Coach Rod Conrad said it was the first time his kids had run that inbounds play. “I saw something on tape and thought it might work. I asked Kayla about it and she said she had a mismatch and could make a shot.”
Natalie Welsch’s two free throws with 2:51 left tied the score for Mount Vernon. After back-to-back Hawk turnovers, Mount Vernon’s Ella Wischmeyer made one of two free throws to give the visitors a 24-23 lead with over two minutes remaining.
After a pair of missed free throws by the Hawks, Mount Vernon took time out with 1:06 remaining. The Hawks defense stepped up, forcing a turnover with 37 seconds left, setting up Koloc’s winning hoop.
After a Hawk time out following Koloc’s basket, the Mustangs attempted a shot to win the game. But Schulte blocked the attempt and Claire Ridenour came up with the ball, securing the Hawks win.
Conrad praised everyone for the win. “This was a team win. Everybody contributed.”
He said the game will be a great memory for seniors Morgan Collier, Hellmann and Krogmann. “I love these seniors. With this being their last home game, they will remember this forever.”
Felton led the Hawks with eight points, followed by Koloc with seven, Schulte four and Krogmann, Hellmann and Lewin two.
The Hawks couldn’t carry that momentum over to the end of the week as they lost to Solon 76-45 on the road Feb. 7.
Solon jumped out to a 16-3 first-quarter lead and led 33-12 at halftime. West Delaware trailed 56-27 after three quarters.
According to Conrad, the game was a combination of Solon’s hot hand offensively and the Hawks’ struggles on defense. “Solon shot the ball well,” he explained. “We had some missed defensive assignments. We need to be a little more consistent defending the ball. Our goal must be improving every possession we play.”
Koloc led the Hawks with 18 points, followed by Collier with nine, Hellmann six and Felton and Schulte three.