A fiery halftime speech was all it took for the Hugoton Lady Eagles to turn up the heat. After coming out to a slow start and battling back and forth with the Sublette Lady Larks, the Lady Eagles turned on the jets and blasted through the second half to win 70-38.
The Lady Eagles took advantage early of their size at the post position. Six-foot-two Hugoton senior Nicole Kinser was dominant in the paint. She put up the first four points on the scoreboard. Hugoton head coach Andy Gillen said the mismatch was something he had planned to key on.
"It was a mismatch and we wanted to try it and at least make their defense collapse," he said. She did kick it out to some of our shooters. She's a good passer for a 6'2" girl. We did take advantage of that mismatch and the other girls took advantage of it when they tried to double down."
At the end of the first quarter Hugoton only had a two point lead 10-8. The second quarter slightly turned the tides and the game plan shifted from a power game to the perimeter shooters.Sublette senior Riley Matteson led the way for the Lady Larks around the arch while Hugoton's Ana Pena dropped in two consecutive three-pointers.
"We've been consistently hitting threes and we are vastly improving in that area but it is still something we need to get better at," Gillen said. "But we were happy with how we shot it tonight."
The Lady Eagles managed to hang on to the lead going into halftime 30-24. Coach Gillen was not happy with their results however, and a fiery locker room speech gave the Eagles the spark they were looking for.
"We had lots of concerns and we had a very stern talk at halftime," Gillen said. "It was all about our effort and our defensive execution and that was the difference. When we came out in the second half we did that and then everything else took care of itself."
The defense was certainly the difference. Hugoton's Chasity Parsons topped off the night with a steal and layup as the Lady Eagles flew away with the win 70-38. A different team emerged after halftime and Gillen said the key was intensity.
"When our intensity picks up and we play hard on defense and execute some of the things we are trying to do we are a much better team."The boys match up was all about speed and down low dominance. A game that was a continual back and forth battle finally resulted in a Lark victory 78-71.