Williamston head coach Pete Cool wanted one more thing after his team nearly blew a 13-point fourth quarter lead in a 45-43 win over Ionia.
“Does anyone have anything for heartburn?” he asked.
He needed it as his Hornets made just one field goal in the final quarter and struggled to handle Ionia’s pressure defense.
“Ionia really put the clamps down in the fourth quarter, and I’m happy the way we hung on,” Cool said.
After a layup by senior Tara Harris to open the quarter, Williamston (2-0) went cold from the field while Ionia (1-1) rallied. The Bulldogs made four three-pointers in the final quarter, including one from junior Sarah Swartz to pull them within two of the lead with 36.7 seconds left.
From there Ionia had three possessions to tie but missed a one-and-one attempt, turned the ball over and missed a half court shot at the buzzer.
“Our girls made a nice effort in the fourth quarter, but it was too little too late,” said Ionia head coach Andy Barr.
Williamston was able to jump ahead quickly due to its talented trio of guards. Sophomore Sarah Schultz led the way with 14 points, but right behind her were Harris with 12 points and senior Laura Rosekrans, who finished with 10.
Regardless of how the team played down the stretch, it is glad to get a victory.
“The confidence is real critical,” Cool said. “They got us in their place last year, so we’re real happy with this win.”
After the first quarter ended in a 16-16 tie, Schultz gave the Hornets the momentum. Her nine points in the second quarter were part of an 11-0 run for Williamston.
Schultz’s development gives her team another weapon on offense. “I was a freshman on varsity last year, but my teammates were really encouraging,” Schultz said. “I looked up to them and followed in their paths.”
The Hornets defense did its part in the second quarter too, as the Bulldogs were held to just one made field goal in the quarter. The result was a 33-21 Williamston lead at the break.
While Ionia was unable to grab the lead again, the duo of Swartz and junior Taylor Bovee showed why it is one of the best in the CAAC. Bovee led the Bulldogs with 21 points, while Swartz finished with 18.
Ionia will be at Thornapple Kellogg on Tuesday, while Williamston hosts Everett.