By Hannah Brown, Student Reporter
The Lady Knights were certainly faced with a challenge with the Hawks of Hagerstown Community College on their home court at East Pennsboro Middle School this past Monday night. The visiting Hawks were a very talented, disciplined team. They ran the ball well, attacked the glass and were always communicating on defense. The Lady Knights fought long and hard, resulting in a conclusion that the Lady Knights haven’t seen in awhile.
Right from the jump, the favored home team started with an easy, unselfish layup to put them up 2-0. This set the tone early, a tone that the Hawks were ready to run with. Ja’Lynn Burton-Jones was steady for the Lady Knights during the first quarter. She tallied 10 of Central Penn’s 18 points to end the 1st quarter while the Haggerstown trailed closely behind with 14. The Lady Knights went on a 6-3 scoring run to start the second quarter, going three for three from field goal range while only allowing the Hawks to get off one shot from behind the arc, which inevitably was nothing but net for the visiting squad. The run put Coach Kasey Hicks' squad up to a 7-point lead four minutes in to the second quarter.
When the Hawks began to contain Jones, Wislene Verna stepped up big for the Lady Knights, totaling 10 points by the end of the half. Walking into the locker room with 20 minutes left in the game, Central Penn was comfortable with their 29-19 lead over the Hawks.
This comfortable feeling didn't last for long. For the next two quarters, the Hawks changed their game plan to a full-court press to slow down the Lady Knights energy, as well as to limit their fastbreak opportunities. Turnovers, as well as foul trouble, were a challenge for the Lady Knights in the final ten minutes of the game.
The scoring was a pinball machine: back and forth and continuous. Haggerstown was up by nearly five points with two minutes left to play in the game, but the Lady Knights fought back to bring themselves within two. With 15 seconds left in the game, Central Penn was down 60-62 with possession of the ball on the opposite end of the court. Jones pushed the ball up the court, drove baseline, taking on 3 of the Hawks herself. No foul was called, but Jones scored the bucket with 3 seconds left to tie it up 62-62. Haggerstown was unable to execute on the other end, sending the game into overtime.
Being down two key players due to foul trouble and injury, the Lady Knights struggled for points during the extra time. Kiera White and Verna both made trips to the charity stroke, going 5/6 between the two, but the Hawks incredible shooting percentage was a challenge to overcome. Hagerstown outscored Central Penn by 11 in overtime, ending with a score of 80-69. Jones and Verna were key leaders for the Lady Knights, both ending in double figures while grabbing a handful of steals individually.
The Lady Knights will travel just south of Washington D.C. this Friday, Feb. 1 to take on Trinity Washington for a 5 p.m. tipoff. If able, get out and support the Lady Knights at their final two home games. Coach Hicks would love to see the Central Penn community come out and cheer on the women’s basketball team Feb. 5 and 13!