HAGERSTOWN, Ind. – Hagerstown’s defense is difficult to replicate.
So is the Tigers’ depth.
Both were front and center Monday night on Hagerstown’s home court — and so were the Tigers after they claimed yet another Wayne County Tournament title in girls basketball.
Savannah Houck led all scorers with 17 points and Hagerstown repeated as tournament champions with a 51-25 victory over Lincoln.
It was the fourth title in five years for the program, and the fifth overall for head coach Chris Oliger.
“Since Christmas, we’ve improved every single day,” said Oliger, whose program now stands at 14-3. “That’s what you’ve got to have coming down the stretch. You have to continue to get better, because everybody is going to be out to give you their best shot.”
Seven Tigers netted points in Monday’s final, with Kaley Caudill scoring 11 and tying for team-high honors with seven rebounds. Gabby Willis added six points for Hagerstown.
Houck helped the Tigers surge to a 20-5 lead by swishing three first-quarter 3-pointers. The junior hit two more, despite battling foul trouble.
Houck also led the Tigers in scoring in Saturday’s semifinal win over Northeastern.
“I think Savannah is just more and more confident in her shot,” Oliger said.
Hagestown held a 34-15 advantage at halftime, 40-21 heading into the final frame.
The Tigers limited Lincoln to four points in the fourth, all on free throws.
“Not only is that a good team, that’s just a good program,” Lincoln coach Rob Bills said of Hagerstown. “Chris has really built that program that way. They hang their hat on their defense. We told our kids tonight that we were going to have a tough way to go, that we were going to have to attack the basket.
“We just have to go back to the drawing board. We have to learn from this.”
Hagerstown was playing in its ninth consecutive final, a tradition that stretches back to 2007.
Tawni Brown grabbed seven rebounds to go with six points for the Tigers, with Houck pulling down five boards.
Kassidy West and Kerrigan Neff each scored seven points for the Golden Eagles (4-10), with Kylei Klein pulling down a game-high 10 rebounds with five points.
“The real defeat in this night would be not that we didn’t win tonight, but would be if we don’t learn from tonight,” Bills said.
Lincoln has one senior on its roster in West, who started Monday along with three sophomores and a freshman.
“We’re really young, and we said this is the first time for three years in a row we expect to be in this game,” Bills said. “We have to start somewhere. My kids battled as hard as they could. We just have to get better defensively.”
The Golden Eagles travel again to Hagerstown this Thursday for the Tri-Eastern Conference meeting between the rivals.
Hagerstown, Lincoln and Tri High shared the TEC title a year ago. Hagerstown currently sits atop the conference standings at 4-0.
“We’re going to prepare for that (game Thursday) with the mentality that we’ve had since Christmas. We are here to get better,” Oliger said. “Our goals are one at a time, one game at a time. … We’re trying to get as many championships as we can. That’s ultimately the goal of every team that steps on the floor.”
Josh Chapin: (765) 973-4463 firstname.lastname@example.org or twitter.com/JoshChapinPI
TIGERS 51, GOLDEN EAGLES 25
LINCOLN (4-10)- Hall 0 1-2 1, Weston 1 0-0 3, West 3 1-4 7, Steele 0 0-0 0, R.Davis 0 0-0 0, Klein 1 3-4 5, Harmer 0 0-0 0, Buhl 0 0-0 0, Neff 2 3-6 7, O.Davis 1 0-0 2. TOTALS- 8 8-16 25.
HAGERSTOWN (14-3)-Willis 3 0-0 6, Matanich 1 0-0 3, Pierson 0 0-0 0, Rogers 2 0-0 4, Caudill 5 1-4 11, O.Houck 0 0-0 0, Brown 3 0-0 6, Dale 0 0-0 0, S.Houck 6 0-0 17, Robinson 2 0-0 4. TOTALS-22 1-4 51.
Lincoln 5 15 21 25
Hagerstown 20 34 40 51
3-pointers– LIN 1 (Weston), H 6 (Matanich, S.Houck 5). Rebounds-LIN 23 (Klein 10), H 34 (Caudill, Brown 7). Turnovers-LIN 16, H 11. Fouls-LIN 9, H 15. Fouled out-None.
• MVP : Savannah Houck, Hagerstown
•Kaley Caudill, Hagerstown
•Gabby Willis, Hagerstown
•Kylei Klein, Lincoln
•Kerrigan Neff, Lincoln
•Karly Jennings, Centerville
•Amanda Canon, Northeastern
*—Selected by Palladium-Item sports staff