LAUREL HILL — A 16-point, 17 rebound effort from Laurel Hill School freshman girls basketball player Grace Reese wasn’t enough Thursday night as the Hoboes lost a District 1-1A game to Poplar Springs 37-29.
“Gracie stepped up and played well,” Hobo coach Scott Varnum said. “They (the Atomics) took Jhanea (Griffin) away (from the Laurel Hill offense). They had a good game plan, but I thought Gracie really played hard.”
Reese wasted no time in making her 6-foot-3-inch presence known as she scored the first basket of the game 29 seconds into the first quarter. A pair of baskets by Ceona Hall, who led the Atomics with 12 points gave Poplar Springs a 4-2 lead.
Reese’s second basket tied the game at 4-4 with 3:43 left in the first quarter. Eighteen seconds later Kelli McIntosh scored for Poplar Springs to give the Atomics a lead they wouldn’t relinquish the rest of the night.
The Atomics led 10-4 at the end of the first quarter and added a point to the lead in the second quarter.
Bridget Zessin scored seven of her nine points in the second quarter to keep the Hoboes (1-7, 0-5) within striking distance. Griffin added a basket for Laurel Hill.
Neither team could muster much offense in the third quarter. The Hoboes got baskets from Reese and Griffin. Beth Nall hit two free throws for the only Atomic points.
“We were in the game the whole way,” Varnum said. “I was proud of the way we played in third quarter. The last five games we haven’t played well in the third quarter, but tonight we did.
“We actually gained a couple of points (cut in the Atomic lead).”
Poplar Springs put the game away at the free throw line in the fourth quarter hitting 13-of-17 shots from the charity stripe.
Reese was at her best in the fourth scoring 10 points that included hitting all four of her free throws.
With the game still in the balance the Hoboes suffered a big blow halfway through the fourth quarter. Point guard Ty D’Andrade aggravated her right knee and was forced to the bench for the final four minutes of the game.
Randy Dickson is the Crestview News Bulletin’s sports editor. Email him at email@example.com, tweet him @BigRandle, or call 682-6524.