After battling a formidable Lawrenceville squad to a 27-27 standstill at halftime last week, the Hun School girls’ basketball team ran into some adversity in the second half.
Having trouble dealing with the Lawrenceville press, the Raiders were outscored 16-8 in the first seven minutes of the third quarter. Then in the opening moments of the fourth quarter, junior star Erica Brown went down with a knee injury that sidelined her for the rest of the contest.
Still, the Raiders battled on, cutting the Big Red lead to 52-48 on a Carey Million jump shot with 41 seconds left in the fourth quarter.
Lawrenceville, though, hit its free throws down the stretch to pull away to a 58-48 victory as the Raiders dropped to 3-2.
While Hun head coach Bill Holup was disappointed to see his team fall to its rival, he had no qualms with the effort he got from his players.
“We were competitive with Shipley (a 67-44 loss on December 1) for three quarters and obviously competitive in this game,” said Holup, who got 15 points from junior center Johnnah Johnson in the loss with Brown chipping in 11 and sophomore guard Janelle Mullen adding nine.
“We just came up on the short end in this game but the effort was there. I can’t complain, we are still above .500.”
The loss of Brown certainly played a factor in Hun coming up short against the Big Red.
“Brown is great at getting the defensive rebound and starting the fast break,” asserted Holup.
“She is extremely quick and athletic. We weren’t quite as aggressive defensively or on the boards when Erica was out of the game.”
Holup acknowledged that his team had trouble slowing the Lawrenceville backcourt.
“They have two really good ballhandlers and it was really tough to defend against,” said Holup, whose team showed its toughness last Saturday as it topped Germantown Friends (Pa.) 41-26 last Saturday with Johnson scoring 16 points and grabbing 14 rebounds.
“In the past two games that we have played, the teams have had a very good point guard. When they have two people who can really handle the ball, it makes it really tough to defend against.”
The Raiders have played a tough schedule in the early going by design, as Holup believes that will strengthen his team in the long run. “This stretch that we have already played with these last four games, Friends Central, Penn Charter, Shipley, and Lawrenceville, those are very good teams,” said Holup.
“Each one of those teams has Division I caliber players so we have been thrown in the fire pretty quickly.”
Holup likes the way his players have met that early challenge. “Overall, the whole attitude of the team is really positive,” said Holup. “It has been a great overall effort through the first five games. I am completely happy with the attitude and the effort that the kids have right now.”
With Hun playing at Germantown Academy (Pa.) on December 20 in its last action before the holiday break, Holup is looking for his team to be sharper in its offensive decision-making.
“We just have to make sure that we recognize when to pull up in transition and settle things down and when to actually take it,” said Holup.
“That is correctible. They just need to learn when the opportunity is there and when it’s not.”