HAMMOND | Since Feb. 2, 2004, every time Andrean and Bishop Noll have met in girls basketball, it’s been Groundhog Day.
The alarm clock rings, Sonny and Cher’s “I Got You Babe” plays, and the 59ers irritate their parochial pals more than Needlenose Ned.
Andrean entered Wednesday’s nonconference matchup having won the last eight in the series by a combined 197 points (24.6 ppg).
Wednesday was different. Asya Hobbs and Julia Kusiak were among a contingent of Warriors who said, “Just put your little hand in mine; there ain’t no hill or mountain we can’t climb,” and Times No. 3 Bishop Noll finished the regular season unbeaten at home with a 54-49 win over the visiting 59ers.
With the game tied at 24 at halftime, the Warriors got Kusiak the ball for a 3-pointer, their first of the game, to open the half. Kusiak went on to score seven points in an 18-6 run to open the half.
“To us it was a 0-0 game at that point, and we wanted to get a good lead so we could eat up the clock,” Kusiak said. “Everyone says we’re a third-quarter team, but we want to be an all-four-quarters team.”
The Warriors (19-2) were 8-of-20 from the free-throw line and just 2-10 in the second half as Andrean steadily came back from as many as 12.
Noll coach Vanita Gary was playing for the Warriors the last time they beat the 59ers. Her effort Wednesday included a simple message: “Calm down.”
“We were playing like we were behind,” Gary said. “When we picked up our pressure and got our hands on more passes we were able to get into our transition game.”
That’s where Hobbs (11 points) and Naomi House (team-high 14) thrived.
Gary didn’t dwell on her role in the last Noll win in the series. It was on her mind, but she didn’t need to tell the junior-heavy squad about the past.
“We had to pick it up in the second half,” Hobbs said. “We knew the second half was our chance to make a statement that we are better than we’ve been before.”
Brenna Boyle hit a pair of 3s in the first quarter en route to 10 points in that frame, which ended with the 59ers up 16-13. She didn’t score again until the buzzer at the end of the third when she canned another 3.
Boyle hit two more treys in the fourth as the 59ers cut a 12-point lead down to three in the final minute, and she finished with 19 points and 12 rebounds.
Andrean (7-15) suffered its 10th single-digit loss of the season.
“We never felt comfortable,” Gary said. “They’re a tough team and showed a lot of fight.”