ASHTON, W.Va. — Foul shots and foul trouble ultimately led to a foul night for the Lady Cats.
The Hannan girls basketball team missed 22 free throws and fought a continuous uphill battle Thursday night following a 44-39 setback to visiting Rose Hill Christian (KY) in a non-conference matchup in Mason County.
The Lady Wildcats (3-7) never led in the contest as the Lady Royals (6-8) stormed out to an early 15-7 edge after eight minutes, but the hosts answered with an 8-4 surge in the second canto to close to within 19-15 at the intermission.
HHS played most of the first half without center Anna Taylor due to foul trouble, and the senior picked up her fourth foul in the opening half of the third stanza. Taylor — one of Hannan’s top scorers — was ultimately held scoreless and only returned to the game in the final two minutes of regulation.
The hosts, who trailed 26-22 when Taylor picked up her fourth personal foul, found a way to overcome the situation by going on a 6-2 run — which led to a 28-all tie at the 1:08 mark. Rose Hill, however, countered with a 7-0 run over the final 60 seconds to secure a 35-28 edge headed into the finale.
Cassidy Duffer capped a 9-2 Hannan run with a free throw at the 3:39 mark of the fourth, which again tied things up at 37-all. RHCS, however, got a basket from Makenlee Sparks six seconds later to secure a permanent lead, and the guests closed the final three minutes with a 5-2 spurt to wrap up the five-point outcome.
The Lady Cats made only 10-of-32 free throw attempts for 31 percent, which included a 5-of-15 effort in the fourth quarter and a 5-of-21 performance in the second half. The Lady Royals, conversely, netted only 6-of-19 charity tosses for 32 percent, but the guests made 6-of-14 chances after halftime.
Hannan outscored RHCS by a 32-29 margin over the final three periods, but the slow start ultimately proved to be a difference maker — much like foul trouble and free throw shooting. Those were the main topics of discussion with fourth-year HHS coach Kellie Thomas afterwards.
“We dug ourselves a little bit of a hole in the first half, but the girls continued to battle back and managed to tie things up there late. We just didn’t have enough left to get over that hump,” Thomas said. “We obviously have a lot of work to do on foul shooting, but we still haven’t played a game this season with completely healthy roster. The girls are playing hard, so hopefully getting back to full strength will help us moving forward.”
Duffer, Maggie Waugh and Jasmine Mayes all led the hosts with eight points, followed by Clarissa Crank with six markers. Madison Staggs and Josie McCoy were next with three points apiece, while Lindsey Holley and Taylor Scarbrough respectively rounded things out with two points and one point.
Kendra Steele paced Rose Hill with a game-high 17 points, followed by Sarah Sizemore with 14 points and Sparks with five markers. Natalie Fyffe and Delaynee Sparks rounded out the winning tally with four points apiece.
Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.