STORY BY AUSTIN DRUSE
PHOTOS BY BRIANNA TUREK
VIDEO BY KELLY KRUSE, AUSTIN REMM AND ANNA LICHTI
On paper, the Hastings College Broncos should have handled the Midland Warriors with relative ease in tonight’s matchup, but ended up winning by a slim margin, 57-52.
Teeka Thompson and Rachel Jelden came up with the biggest plays for Hastings College down the stretch. Thompson, who finished with 13 points, scored two and-one buckets in the waning minutes to eventually put the Broncos up by three.
“I felt like I let them down in the third quarter. . . I knew I had to go in when I got the opportunity to go back in and do something to get the energy up,” Thompson said.
Rachel Jelden then came up with a steal and hit two free-throws with 24 seconds remaining, putting the Broncos up for good. Jelden put forth a double-double, scoring 12 points and grabbing 10 rebounds, in addition to two blocks and that crucial steal.
“Even though it wasn’t a pretty game, a win is a win,” Thompson said. “And with Rachel making that read on that pass play for them, that was huge.”
While the Broncos jumped out to a 16-2 run to start the game, they found themselves trailing 33-32 at the half, mostly due to an enormous second quarter by Midland’s Megan Kucks. The sophomore tallied 18 points on 6-9 shooting, including 3-3 from 3-point land. However, Kucks was unable to produce to that caliber in the second half, scoring only three in the second half.
Kucks’ opportunites to score came mostly from transition buckets. Hastings College fell out of a rhythm after its initial run, took poor shoots and didn’t manage to get back on defense.
Hastings College head coach Jina Johansen noted that their defensive strategy wasn’t too different than that of the first half, just increased intensity and more switching on screens. Johansen also mentioned that the 38 minutes Kucks played could have factored in to her low-scoring second half, due to fatigue.
Since the Broncos lost to Briar Cliff on Feb. 13th, they fell out of a five-way tie for the second spot in the Great Plains Athletic Conference standings. But, with a win this weekend at Dakota Wesleyan, the Broncos could be back in the mix.
“We’re pretty aware of where we stand and what we need to do the next few games,” Johansen said.
The Broncos finish out the regular season in Mitchell, S.D. The Tigers of Dakota Wesleyan defeated the Broncos 88-76 back on January 2nd.
“The first time we played them, we gave up 88, so hopefully we don’t give up 88 again. They’re just big and physical, and have a couple really good shooters, so we will try a few things defensively,” Johansen said.
The Broncos entered tonight’s game in 6th-Place in the GPAC, but only the top-four teams host conference tournament games.