Last season, Horizon women’s basketball — led by eight seniors — made their way to the Great 8 of the 5A division with a 21-5 record. Starting the new season, coach Dan Doehler knows his team …
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Last season, Horizon women’s basketball — led by eight seniors — made their way to the Great 8 of the 5A division with a 21-5 record. Starting the new season, coach Dan Doehler knows his team is different. Still, the result didn’t change Dec. 4 against Pine Creek as Horizon defeated the Lady Eagles 57-53 in the opening round of the Best in the Nest Tournament at Horizon High School.
“We had two returners that had significant playing time last year,” Doehler said after the game. “For them to grind this game out is impressive, they are a gritty bunch, and that’s going to be our brand of basketball this year. We are quick, we are athletic, and we don’t have any superstars on the team, but it’s a bunch of kids who don’t care who gets the credit. As long as the basketball goes in the net, we are pretty happy about it.”
The night didn’t begin as the Lady Hawks anticipated, falling behind 11-2 as senior Maddie Miller (six points) and junior Jordyn Gutierrez (five points) caught fire with the first 11 less than two minutes into the affair. However, Horizon settled down, changing from a zone defense to man-to-man — sparking a 15-4 run to end the frame.
In the second quarter, there were four lead changes in the first two minutes. As both teams continued to feel each other out, the Hawks gained momentum on a left-handed, off-handed make at the buzzer by sophomore Audra Vine to put the home team’s lead at 32-29.
PC had their way in the third. Outscoring Horizon 18-9, the Hawks needed to buckle down in the fourth, and they did so.
A 6-0 run to begin the quarter notched things at 47 after two quick baskets from Vine. The Lady Eagles then bounced back with 4-straight points to regain the lead before the offense of senior Olivia Waufle and the Horizon team defensive pressure took over the game.
After 4-consecutive points from the lone returning starter from last year’s team, Waufle tied the score at 53-53 with 1:45 remaining. Allowing just two points in the final five minutes of the contest, the Lady Hawks’ defense smothered Pine Creek to close the game and free-throw makes from Vine and Waufle sealed the deal to take the win on opening night.
“It’s going to be hard for me to take Audra (Vine) and Olivia (Waufle) off the floor. They know they have to carry the load, but at the same time, if we know we can get solid contributions from others, we are going to be completely fine,” Doehler said. “They know what a championship program looks like. They have been there, done that, and I’m not lowering my standards because we lost a lot, but they want that same feeling, and they are excited.”
Doehler also credited freshman Tate Delange’s effort on the defensive end in helping hold Pine Creek offensively down the stretch. Her attacking style in trap situations frustrated the Lady Eagles, speeding them up to an uncomfortable pace of play.
Leading the Horizon in scoring, Waufle and Vine recorded 14. Six others also found the scoresheet with junior Savione Young and sophomore Alyssa Temple following with seven apiece.
In Horizon’s next two contests, the Lady Hawks fell to Ralston Valley and Arapahoe Dec. 6 and 7. Horizon is set to take on Dakota Ridge Dec. 11 in the Creek/Ridge Classic.
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