Ali Goetz (23) struggles to get off a shot against Hampton defender Jordan Busshaus during the Planets’ 34-26 girls basketball loss Thursday night.
DAVE PRELOSKY/BUTLER EAGLE
HAMPTON TWP — Hampton was a formidable foe. But the Mars girls basketball team may have lost this ugly 34-26 game to the Talbots earlier this week. “Mother Nature took care of us,” said Mars coach Tony Howard. “We haven’t been able to get the gym for three days.” The only thing colder than the temperature this week was the Planets’ shooters against Hampton. Mars shot 8-of-53 from the field. Guards Nicole McCloud, Jess Bunner and Bonnie Workman — usually sharp shooters for Mars — combined to hit only two of 28 shots. Sara Getsy was 4-of-11 from the floor to lead Mars with 12 points. “We had some good looks, I thought,” said Howard, who also named another culprit for his team’s woes. “I didn’t do a very good job of getting us calmed down, under control and running stuff. That comes down to me. I didn’t get these girls ready in the time we did have.” And that time was limited. Mars’ last game was a week ago and it has had just one practice since. “It’s really hard to keep your momentum going,” Howard said. “I should have done a better job. You could tell we were reactive instead of instinctive and that’s just isn’t going to work in a game like this.” Hampton, too, had a lot to do with Mars’ struggles on offense. The Talbots, who beat Valley Monday in their last game, hounded the Planets all night, clamping down on the outside shooters and keeping Ali Goetz and Elise Sheehy contained on the inside. Goetz and Sheehy combined for just eight points. “Everyone played shut-down defense,” said Hampton coach Mary Bukovac. “We also got some key turnovers and made some key free throws down the stretch.” Neither team shot well in the first half as Mars led 16-13 at the half. Hampton, though, started the second half on an 8-1 run and led by as many as seven early in the fourth quarter. Alexiss Griggs, who led the Talbots with 12 points and six blocked shots, sank two key free throws to give Hampton a 32-26 lead late. Jada Alim finished things off with two more free throws with eight seconds remaining. The win avengedv a 47-44 loss earlier this month. In that game, Mars rallied from a 16-point deficit to win. “Last time, we played not to lose,” Bukovac said. “You have to play to win and we did that.” The win puts Hampton (12-7, 9-1) a half-game ahead of Mars (11-6, 8-1) in the Section 1-AAA standings. “Two (losses) down would have been tough,” Bukovac said. “You always want to control your own destiny.” Both teams do. “We can’t change anything. We can’t let this one affect the next one,” Howard said. “All of our goals are still attainable. We just have to go out and get back to game speed and take care of business next week. “We still have control,” Howard added. “To be in that position this late in the year is a something for our girls to feel good about.” MARS 26 Sara Getsy 4-11 2-4 12, Nicole McCloud 1-12 0-0 2, Jess Bunner 0-7 0-4 0, Ali Goetz 1-10 4-4 6, Elise Sheehy 1-3 0-1 2, Ellyssa Paras 0-0 1-2 0, Bonnie Workman 1-9 0-0 2. Totals: 8-53 7-15 26. HAMPTON 34 Jada Alim 2-11 2-2 4, Courtney Collins 0-0 2-2 2, Maddy Nelligan 2-9 2-4 6, Amanda Reese 1-8 3-6 5, Alexiss Griggs 5-9 2-2 12, Natalie Donegan 0-2 1-2 1, Jenna Lafko 1-1 0-0 2, Jordan Busshaus 0-2 0-0 0, Lindsey Swain 0-0 0-0 0, Caitlin Jameson 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 11-43 12-18 34. Mars 6 10 3 7 — 26 Hampton 10 3 12 9 — 34 3-point goals: Mars 3 (Getsy 2, Workman) JV: Mars 37-32 Monday: Highlands at Mars