Late surge sends Hillman girls past East Jordan

News Photo by Jonny Zawacki Hillman's Kristen Kenyon (41) makes a hook shot over East Jordan defender Madeline Malpass (20) during the second quarter of a girls basketball game on Monday at Hillman High School.

HILLMAN–The Hillman girls basketball team played its best basketball when i needed to on Monday as the Tigers caught fire late and put together an efficient fourth quarter to defeat East Jordan 49-34 at Hillman High School.

The Tigers got off to a fast start and led 11-2 in the early minutes of the game and forced an East Jordan timeout. The Red Devils responded by hitting three shots from beyond the three point line and eventually cut the Hillman lead to four after one quarter.

“I give East Jordan a lot of credit, they are a very good team. You can tell by the way they execute on the floor that they know what they’re doing out there. Our speed did play a factor tonight as we jumped out to that early lead,” Hillman coach John Kuzewski said. “We made some timely shots and once again I was pretty happy with our defense.”

The Tigers continued to find ways to score as Lyndsey Ryba led Hillman scored seven of her 11 points on the night in the first half, but East Jordan wouldn’t go away as the Tigers took a 28-18 lead into the break.

Both teams were cold to begin the second half, but much like Ryba led the way for Hillman in the first half, Andrea Taratuta put together a big second half scoring nine of her team-high 13 points on the night in the second half. Taratuta scored four of Hillman’s six third quarter points as the Tigers held onto a 34-26 lead after three quarters.

“Coming into the season I had an idea of who might lead us most nights in scoring and to my teams credit that’s happened one time. We have had three different leading scorers in three games so far this year and that’s tough to play against and that’s the type of balance we had last year,” Kuzewski said. “We’re starting to get into the position that we were in last year so I’m pretty happy with that.”

After holding onto an eight point lead in a game where the Tigers just couldn’t seem to pull away from their opponent, Hillman opened the final quarter going on a 15-2 run to take a 49-28 lead with 2:46 left to play. Ryba, Taratuta and Jozie Appelgren combined to score 15 of the first 17 points in the quarter to help Hillman pull away and win its second consecutive game after falling in its season opener.

“It was a really tough loss opening night, but we have two in a row now against two quality teams and I think this is the start that we were looking for,” Kuzewski said. “We’re headed in the right direction and I’m looking forward to continuing on from here.”

The Tigers were led by Taratuta who scored a game high 13 points. Ryba added 11 points, Appelgren scored eight points and Eve LaFleche chipped in with seven points.

Jayden Weber led East Jordan with 10 points, while Karah Dunson and Kendall McNitt each ended with five points apiece.

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HILLMAN – B. Schook, 1 0-0 2; L. Ryba, 4 2-4 11; J. Appelgren,4 0-0 8; E. LaFleche, 2 2-2 7; B. Jones, 2 0-1 4; A. Taratuta, 5 2-4 13; K. Kenyon, 2 0-0 4;

EAST JORDAN – K. Raymond, 1 0-0 2; A. Peterson, 1 0-0 3; K. McNitt, 2 0-0 5; M. Malpass, 1 0-0 2; T. Spence, 2 0-0 4; K. Dunson, 2 0-0 5; J. Weber, 4 2-2 10; R. Drenth, 1 1-2 3.