LAINGSBURG – Julia Angst knew something had to change going into Laingsburg’s Class C district semifinal showdown with Bath.
A few weeks back, the senior point guard watched as the Bees exited her home floor with a victory and, ultimately, a third of the CMAC championship.
The stakes were much higher Wednesday night when Bath returned, and Angst and the CMAC co-champion Wolfpack rose to the occasion.
Fueled by an immediate 16-3 run to start the game, Laingsburg kept its season alive with a 41-27 victory over the Bees, setting up a district title matchup Saturday with Pewamo-Westphalia, which also earned a share of the CMAC title.
“It was a motivator, but also a learning moment for us,” said Angst, who, along with sophomore Alex Randall, scored a game-high 10 points. “We knew we had to play tough, and we knew if we played how we did last time that they’re going to come in here and beat us.”
The Wolfpack (20-3), who won the season series between the two conference rivals, 2-1, didn’t give Bath much of an opportunity to play spoiler Wednesday night. Laingsburg’s 16-6 lead after the first quarter ended up being the difference, as the Wolfpack narrowly outscored the Bees, 25-21, the rest of the way.
Defensively, Laingsburg was able to hold Tessa Hosford, the Bees’ top scorer, scoreless through the first 16 minutes. Hosford finished with six points, and Wolfpack coach Doug Hurst said the gameplan coming in was centered around stopping the junior guard.
“Obviously, Tessa Hosford is extremely good at driving to the basket, and she’s hard to handle with one girl,” Hurst said. “When she (drove), the help (defense) wasn’t supposed to come all the way over, but enough to kind of bother her. …For the most part, it worked out.”
And while Hurst’s team collectively put together a stout defensive performance, Bath’s struggles from the perimeter hindered any type of comeback effort.
The Bees, who average seven 3-pointers per game, failed to connect on any shots from downtown. Coach Chris Rypstra said he could sense the frustration building in his ball club.
“We tried to shoot through it,” Rypstra said. “As a team, we shoot the ball really well – we don’t have one (girl) that’s hit 50 or anything like that, but all of those girls can shoot. That’s our game.
“Tonight, shots weren’t falling for us, and when you play a good team like Laingsburg, it’s hard to overcome.”
Senior Lindsey Smith scored eight points for the Wolfpack.
Junior Jessica Stoskopf also added six points for Bath.
Contact James L. Edwards III at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @JLEdwardsIII.