It hasn’t been very often that Hopkins has defeated Wayland in girls’ basketball, but Friday night’s encounter threatened to result in just that.
The visiting Vikings traded blows and even knotted the score at 35-all midway in the third quarter on two free throws and a layup by Maya Kerber. But somehow, Hopkins managed to score just one point for the rest of the ballgame and the Wildcats came away with a 50-36 victory.
The key to the Vikings’ late fade was an astonishing defensive performance by sophomore Reese Coughlin, with help from Kaelyn Sikkema, in holding star junior Mady Weber to three points in the second half and just 11 for the game, half her total in the season opener Tuesday.
Coughlin turned in quite a performance both offensively and defensively, sharing scoring honors with freshman Harmony Laker with a dozen points. Floor general Mady Terry did a terrific job bringing the ball upcourt against Hopkins’ press and she finished with 10 points and a number of assists.
Grace Kincaid came up with a couple of clutch baskets just when the Wildcats began to widen the gap.
The game was tight from the tipoff, with neither team taking a lead of more than five points. That is, until Wayland pulled away in the latter half of the third and all of the fourth quarter.
The ‘Cats were up 13-9 after one and 25-20 at intermission, in both cases using a late surge to gain the upper hand. Hopkins had a couple of brief surges early in the second half, on a putback by Neveah Helderop and a three-point play by Weber. And, of course, the Vikings knotted the count at 35 before everything went south for them the rest of the way.
Backing up Weber’s team-leading 11 points was 10 by sophomore Ellie Sebright, who once again sparkled on the baseline with jumpers and drives to the hoop.
The win comes after the Wildcats’ disappointing 48-33 loss to Otsego in the season opener Tuesday. So now both teams are 1-1 on the season overall.