After a near disaster in the first half, the Hesston College women’s basketball team found its shooting touch and its ballhandling to rally for a 71-69 win over North Central (Mo.) College Friday in the Pizza Hut-Hesston College Thanksgiving Classic at Yost Center.


After a near disaster of a first half, the Hesston College women’s basketball team found its shooting touch and its ballhandling to rally for a 71-69 win over North Central (Mo.) College Friday in the Pizza Hut-Hesston College Thanksgiving Classic at Yost Center.

North Central blew a double-digit lead in the game. Hesston nearly followed suit in the second half.

“We played so spotty in the first half,” Hesston coach Dan Harrison said. “We gave them a pretty good advantage in the first half, but we never stopped fighting. We got a lead in the second half and struggled to hold on to it. We’re young and still learning how to play with a lead. We learned a lot about ourselves today.”

Hesston avenges a 10-point loss to the Pirates Nov. 8 on the road.

Amber Block led Hesston with 16 points, 14 in the second half. She hit eight of 11 from the field and was able to take advantage of foul trouble for the North Central post. Sarah Ingbretson scored 15 points, hitting seven of nine from the line. Hannah Frank-Jones scored 13 points. Kari Heusinkveld scored 10 points with nine assists and four steals.

“It was key for us when they got in foul trouble inside,” Harrison said. “(Block) only hit one basket in the first half but seven in the second. We had 14 turnovers in the first half but cut that in half in the second. We gave up three or four of those in the second half late in the game. We had four players in double figures, and that’s what we’re looking for. We want to have a lot of players scoring.”

North Central was led by Cassie Hunt with 19 points, hitting seven of 10 from the field. Bailey Owen scored 13 points. Melissa McGinley added 10 points. Hunt and Owen spent much of the game in foul trouble. Owen fouled out late.

Hesston struggled with shooting, North Central struggled with fouls and both teams struggled with ball handling early in the first half. North Central jumped to a 10-3 lead. Hesston was able to hit a couple of outside shots to get within two, 14-12.

Hesston then gave up a 12-4 run to fall back by 10. Hesston trailed by 12 at the break, 38-26.

The Larks were six of 27 shooting in the first half and 11 of 18 from the free throw line.

Hesston opened the second half with a 7-0 run. North Central replied with an 8-1 run. Hesston came back again, tying the game on a Sarah Ingbretson layup with 10:35 left in regulation. Ingbretson followed with a short jumper to put the Larks in the lead.

Hesston led by as many as 10 points, but late turnovers allowed North Central back in the game. Hunt hit a layup with 1:18 left to cut Hesston’s lead to two, 70-68 but missed the front end of a one-and-bonus 18 seconds later.

North Central missed a 3-point attempt with about 47 seconds remaining. Hesston turned the ball over with 16.4 seconds to play. Hunt was fouled with 8.5 seconds to play, missing the first shot, but making the second.

With 7.5 seconds to play, Heusinkveld hit one of two free throws for Hesston. North Central missed a layup chance at the buzzer.

Hesston is 6-6 and plays at 6 p.m. today against the Tabor College junior varsity.

“We’re back to even,” Harrison said. “We let a couple of close ones get away from us this year. We’re still learning to play together, but we took a step today.

“Tabor has some pretty good athletes. They can shoot the three well. That’s something we’re going to have to keep our eyes on.”

NORTH CENTRAL (4-6) — Hunt 7-10 5-9 19, Ireland 0-5 0-0 0, McGinley 3-11 4-4 10, Dierking 4-7 0-0 8, Wilson 2-11 0-0 6, Bennett 2-6 3-4 8, Yocum 1-3 0-2 2, Owen 6-9 1-1 13, Ford 1-2 0-0 3, TOTALS 26-64 13-20 69.

HESSTON (6-6) — Coffman 1-4 0-0 3, Gonzales 0-1 0-0 0, Yeackley 0-0 0-0 0, Ingbretson 4-11 7-9 15, Nussbaum 0-1 0-0 0, Wright 1-3 4-7 6, Frey 1-4 1-2 3, Frank-Jones 5-12 1-1 13, Heusinkveld 2-8 5-10 10, Johnson 0-0 0-0 0, Block 8-11 0-0 16, Ballard 1-4 3-4 5, TOTALS 23-59 21-33 71.

No.Cent. 38 31 —69

Hesston 26 45 —71

Total fouls — NC 25, HC 19. Fouled out — NC: Owen. HC: Frank-Jones. 3-point shooting — NC 4-16 (McGinley 0-4, Wilson 2-8, Bennett 1-3, Ford 1-1), HC 4-11 (Coffman 1-3, Frank-Jones 2-6, Heusinkveld 1-2). Rebounds — NC 31 (Dierking 6, Bennett 6), HC 36 (Wright 7). Assists — NC 11 (Yocum 5), HC 18 (Heusinkveld 9). Turnovers — NC 23 (Bennett 6), HC 23 (Coffman 7). Blocked shots — NC 3 (Owen 2), HC 2 (Frey 1, Ballard 1). Steals — NC 15 (Bennett 6), HC 12 (Heusinkveld 4).