LAINGSBURG – For the past two years, Tessa Hosford has sat back and watched both Pewamo-Westphalia and Laingsburg own the CMAC conference.
So it made sense when the Bath girls basketball team rushed the court Friday night after defeating the Wolfpack in the second meeting of the season between the two teams. The Bees were now one of them.
Bath’s 41-37 victory over Class C honorable-mention Laingsburg put the Bees in a three-way tie with the Pirates and Wolfpack for first place in the league and gave them their seventh win in their last eight outings.
“After we lost to them, we worked really hard to get back at them,” said Hosford, a junior, who scored 11 points in the contest. “This game was really exciting for us.
“Our league is pretty tough. Normally, P-W and Laingsburg come out on top, but it’s pretty awesome for us to have a shot at it.”
Hosford and her sister, Tait, paved the way for the Bees (14-2, 11-2), who lost to both of their counterparts earlier in the season, by scoring 13 of the team’s 19 first-half points. Tait, a freshman, scored six of her 11 points in the second quarter and helped her side take a four-point lead into the half.
The Wolfpack (13-3, 10-2) started the game on an 8-3 run. However, a 3-point bucket by Tessa midway through the first quarter ignited a 9-2 spurt for Bath. And with the game tied at 10, senior Isabelle Handzo hit a layup as time expired to give the Bees a two-point lead going into the second quarter. Bath never trailed after the first eight minutes.
“You look at the standings, and we’re all sitting their tied. We’ve all split,” Bees coach Chris Rypstra said. “Those are three great teams, and the rest of the CMAC is great, and we have to go and handle our business (down the stretch) before we even thinking about anything like winning the league.”
After starting the season winning 12 of its first 13 games, Laingsburg has dropped two of its last three – with its lone win coming over Class B No. 10 ranked Perry. The Wolfpack, who controlled their own destiny before losing to the Pirates and Bees within the past week, kept the contest close going into the fourth quarter. But, offensively, they were never able to fully break free from the stagnant play that hindered them early in the contest.
Laingsburg sophomore forward Alex Randall, who scored a team-high 10 points, opened the fourth quarter with a 3-pointer to tie the game at 27. But the Wolfpack connected on just two field goals after Randall’s bucket, which allowed Bath to separate itself with a 7-2 run near the halfway point of the quarter.
“We could never really find a rhythm to get going” Laingsburg coach Doug Hurst said. “We might make one play, but we’d turn around and do two things wrong after that. We missed a bunch of free throws throughout the game. …Bath played well, and I told these guys, as frustrating as it is, they deserved it. They made plays at the end and we didn’t.”
Bath senior Taylor Buck, who, according to Rypstra, played the best game of her three-year career, added seven points.
Laingsburg’s Julia Angst and Sophie Wilsey each scored seven points.