Lady ‘Canes hang on for tough win over West Ridge

Morristown East’s girls saw West Ridge rally from a nine-point deficit after there quarters to take the lead with 1:12 left in the game at Isenberg-Siler Gymnasium, but the Lady Hurricanes played error free basketball the rest of the way and rallied for a 47-43 victory.

Hailey Hall was the star as she knocked down a three-point bucket from the left wing to give East a 44-43 lead with 56 seconds left in the game. The Lady Wolves came down and missed and Hall grabbed the rebound.

After a time out, Hall was fouled with 32.8 left and calmly sank both charity tosses to make it 46-43. The visitors missed a three and freshman Ella Wampler grabbed her 21st rebound of the game.

The Lady ‘Canes ran the clock down to 15 seconds before freshman point guard Hudson Cloninger was fouled. She hit the first of two to put the game on ice as East improved to 3-4 for the season.

It was only the third loss in nine games for West Ridge.

Hall tossed in 16 points and Wampler scored 13 to go along with her 21 rebounds to lead the Lady ‘Canes. Kiersten Bell added nine.

Emma Niebruegge led West Ridge with 11 and Allie Jordan scored 10 with all of those coming in the second half.

First-year East coach Haylea Styles was excited about the win. “That was a really big win for us against a quality basketball team. I was so proud of the way we were able to play tough and close it out.

“We still had too many turnovers and made a lot of mistakes,” Styles added. “But when the game was on the line in the final minutes, we did what we had to do to win the ball games.”

Styles continued, “I’m really proud of the girls, especially Hailey Hall for making that big three right there at the end. That was a big time shot and then she and Hudson hit free throws to keep us in front.

“I think this was a great opportunity for us to grow,” she said. “We’re really young and there’s not going to be any easy games for us. But the girls fought with all they had for a win and they executed the things we wanted to do at the very end. I’m just super proud of them.”

“They communicated tonight on the floor and we did the little things you have to do to win. Emma controlled the boards for us and that was huge and she also scored for us inside. I thought Hudson played well despite battling a cold. This was a good team effort.”

East led for most of the night. The visitors scored first but East ran off nine straight points. Zoe Shelley hit a jumper and Bell canned a three before Megan Winstead converted an old-fashioned three-point play. Bell’s free throw closed the run before Niebruegge hit a three.

Wampler grabbed a rebound and put it back in but Niebruegge knocked down another triple to make it 11-8. Hall had a steal and layup to give East a 13-8 margin after one quarter.

Hall made the first basket of the second stanza but West Ridge rallied within 17-12. Wampler hit a free throw and then added a three-point play before Hall fired through a three to give East a 24-12 advantage.

The Lady Wolves scored the final six of the first half and first four of the third canto to close it down to 24-22 but Bell hit a layup, Hall made two free throws and Bell gunned in a three for a 31-22 lead. That was still the margin as East led 35-26 going to the fourth quarter.

West Ridge quickly cut the lead to 35-31 and then 37-34. Wampler had a rebound bucket for East and Cloninger added a free throw for a 40-34 lead.

But Rachel Niebruegge had a three-point play and Jordan cashed in two charity tosses to get the visitors within one at 40-39. Allison Lambert’s two free throws put West Ridge in front but Wampler made a free toss to tie it with 2:18 left.

Emma Niebruegge put her team back in front by making one of two free throws before Jordan hit another one for the 43-41 lead to set the stage for Hall’s big three.

East wound up shooting 37.5 percent by making 15 of 40 from the floor. The Lady ‘Canes were 4 of 9 on three-point tries. West Ridge was 14 of 42 for 33.3 percent and made 4 of 17 from long range.

With Wampler leading the way, East had a 41-29 rebounding margin. Bell had five for East. Lambert grabbed six stray shots for the losers.