GRAND ISLAND -- Heartland Lutheran’s girls basketball team broke into the win column for the first time this year with a 46-35 victory over McCool Junction Tuesday at Heartland Lutheran High School.
The Red Hornets (1-5) did it behind 19 points from Courtney Hiegel and 10 points and 12 rebounds from Bethany Hollman.
As expected senior guard Brooklyn Swantek led McCool Junction with 20 points, but Heartland Lutheran coach Terry Fredrickson said the Red Hornets’ defensive strategy paid off against Swantek.
Swantek was 7-for-39 from the field for the night. That included 0-for-11 in the fourth quarter.
“We knew (Swantek) was their shooter and we were trying to get a hand in her face all the time,” Fredrickson said. “They were screening for her. She got off a lot of shots but she didn’t make very many so I think we tired her out a little bit. Her legs got tired. It’s a different story if she puts some in.
“We knew that was pretty much what was going to happen.”
Senior Staphanie Chandler and junior Rochelle Scheer drew the assignment against Swantek most of the night with some help from a couple of other players.
“Our strategy worked,” Fredrickson said. “She was out there quite a long time. We were subbing in and out and getting fresh people on her. If she missed all her shots in the fourth quarter, we did our job.”
Heartland Lutheran got off to a good start and led 11-4 after the opening quarter, The Red Hornets stretched that lead in the second as Justine Bader and Hiegel both hit free throws, Hiegel scored on a drive to the basket and Chandler converted along the baseline to give Heartland Lutheran a 17-4 lead.
But Swantek hit two 3-pointers before the half to help cut the Heartland Lutheran lead to 27-19 at the break.
The Mustangs got to within six points at 33-27 on another 3-pointer by Swantek with 4 minutes, 51 seconds left in the third quarter.
“They made a little run on us,” Fredrickson said. “It was (Swantek) who was putting in the shots. We put a kid up on her. What we wanted to do was to make her work hard bringing the ball down so she’d get tired. Steph was on her for awhile, Rochelle was on her for awhile. I think we just tired her out, and that was pretty much the goal was to make her tired so she couldn’t shoot any more.”
The lead was still six at 37-31 going into the fourth.
Swantek kept firing, but McCool Junction couldn’t cut into the Red Hornet lead.
Fredrickson was glad his team could finally get that elusive first win of the season.
“Courtney drove to the basket well and scored her 18 points,” Fredrickson said. “Beth had some nice rebounds. As a team we moved the ball pretty well and got it done.”
“It takes a team effort to win games and we had a pretty good team effort here. It’s just good to come out with a win. The girls have been working hard. It’s good to see them come out ahead.”
Heartland Lutheran 46, McCool Junction 35
MCCOOL JUNCTION (1-4)
Johnson 0-5 0-1 0, Mertz 3-7 7-7 13, Fisher 0-6 0-0 0, Swantek 7-39 2-5 20, White 0-0 0-0 0,Verhage 1-2 0-0 2, Hess 0-2 0-0 2. Totals 11-61 4-15 35.
HEARTLAND LUTHERAN (1-5)
Chandler 2-5 2-2 6, Scheer 1-4 1-3 3, Co. Hiegel 7-18 2-8 18, Hollman 5-10 0-0 10, Kowalski 1-5 0-0 2, Velado 1-3 0-0 2, Roehrich 0-1 0-0 0, Ja. Bader 0-1 0-0 0, Jes. Bader 0-0 0-0 0, Ju. Bader 1-3 1-2 3, Cl. Hiegel 0-0 0-0 0, S. Schmitt 0-0-0 0. Totals 19-53 6-15 46.
McCool Junction ..........................4 15 12 4—35
Heartland Lutheran.............................11 16 10 9—46
3-point goals—McCool Junction 4-23 (Santek 4-22), Heartland Lutheran 2-12 (Co. Hiegel 2-10, Chandler 0-1, Jes. Bader 0-1). Fouled out—None. Rebounds—McCool Junction 48 (Mertz 12). Heartland Lutheran 46 (Hollman 12). Turnovers—McCool Junction 20, Heartland Lutheran 20. Total fouls—McCool Junction 18, Heartland Lutheran 15. Technicals—None.