BERLIN- For the better part of three quarters, Stephen Decatur’s 2-8 girls’ varsity basketball team hung with 8-2 Bennett at home on Tuesday before the Clippers started to wear down the Seahawks and pull away.
A rough patch in the schedule continued for the Seahawks this week with the 62-45 loss to third-place Bennett, just five days after a tough 49-48 loss to Kent County last Thursday, but the Decatur girls have been very competitive and continue to show signs of improvement. For long stretches during the game against Bennett on Tuesday, the Seahawks did just about everything right despite the final outcome.
Bennett jumped out to an early 4-0 lead before Decatur’s Leann Flounlacker got the Seahawks on the board with a free throw at the 5:35 mark in the first quarter. After a Bennett basket, Katie Purnell hit a jumper in the paint to cut the lead to 6-3 and Flounlacker pulled the Seahawks within one at 6-5 with a lay-up at the 4:47 mark.
Bennett scored on a fast break to make it 8-5, but Decatur came right back on its next possession on a lay-up by Abbey Schoor to cut the lead to one point again at 8-7. The Clippers ran to lead to 14-7 on a long jumper and a couple of fast break lay-ups, but Decatur hung in there. Monique Wise hit a free throw to cut the lead to 14-8 and Flounlacker nailed a jumper from the corner to cut the lead to 14-10 with just over two minutes left in the first quarter.
A jumper from around the free throw line by Schoor cut the lead to 14-12, but Bennett extended its lead as the period wound down, including an opportunity under the Decatur basket during which the Clippers grabbed three rebounds before finally converting a lay-up. Bennett extended its lead to 18-12 on a runner in the paint with 19 seconds left, which is how the first period ended.
In the second quarter, Schoor hit a jumper to cut the lead to 18-14 and Flounlacker scored seconds later on a hard drive to the basket to cut the lead to 18-16. Bennett turned up the pressure on defense, going to a full court press, but Decatur was able to break the press with sharp passing. Jamie Parker tied the game at 18-18 with 5:42 left in the second after the Seahawks were able to solve the Clipper press.
Bennett regained the lead at 20-18 with just over five minutes left in the second and built on it with a three-point play seconds later to extend the lead to 23-18. Again, the Seahawks refused to roll over. Kaitlin Hardt nailed a pair of free throws to cut the lead to 23-20 with 3:56 remaining in the second. After Bennett extended its lead to 27-20, Schoor scored on a fast break off a great inbound pass from mid-court to cut the lead to 27-22 with 2:26 remaining.
Wise then cut the lead to 27-24 with a lay-up off a great pass from Schoor, again breaking the Bennett press. Wise was fouled on the play and had a chance to cut the lead to two points, but did not convert the ensuing free throw. Bennett pushed the lead back to five points at 29-24 with 1:13 remaining in the second, but again Decatur came right back with a lay-up by Schoor. With 38 seconds left, Bennett scored on a lay-up to extend the lead to 31-26, but the Clippers weren’t done. After a Decatur turnover, Bennett hit a long three-pointer from the top of the key to extend to lead to 34-26 as the first half expired.
Throughout much of the third quarter, Decatur made some mini-runs to cut into the Bennett lead, but the Clippers would not be denied. Bennett weathered a few storms and continued to attack the basket and cruised to the 62-45 win.