HOBART | Autumn Beal may have scored only four points, but her last two proved pivotal for Hobart on Friday.
Beal drained a game-winning jump shot from about 19 feet away, giving the Brickies a 42-40 win over Times No. 9 Kankakee Valley. The girls basketball victory gave Hobart its first Northwest Crossroads Conference victory.
Officials decided to put 1.9 seconds on the clock after Beal's clincher, but the Brickies (5-4, 1-2 NCC) hung on for the win.
"I was kind of hoping the time was up," Beal said. "I was hoping it was in because we really needed this win to build up our confidence. We've been getting into a slump."
Hobart coach Mike Hamacher was happy his team finally pulled out a close win. In the Brickies' four losses, they've dropped those games by a combined 19 points. He also credited Beal for hitting her contested jump shot.
"Autumn has been more a defensive player for us," Hamacher said. "She can also score, and, when she's playing with confidence, she can knock down some shots. I thought that was pretty important for her to take that shot at that point in the game. I think it shows her maturity."
Perhaps the biggest key in a game without much scoring was the 10-3 run Hobart went on to begin the second half, putting them 31-27 in a game that was close from the outset. Morgan Flaharty led the Brickies with 12 points.
"I think that was big," Hamacher said. "In the first half, I questioned their effort a little bit, especially rebounding. I told them if all else fails in the second half, just play hard and get after it a little bit more."
K.V. (5-4, 1-2) started the game very slowly and was unable to get a field goal until Lauren Stokes connected four minutes into the game. Kougars coach Ryan Myers thought that inability to set the tempo was a big reason they lost.
"We made a lot of travels and mistakes early on that cost us the game, but we've been on the other end of that game three of four times already this year," he said. "But I'm proud of my kids. I think they played really hard tonight."