New Manchester had Hiram just where it wanted it for the first two quarters of Saturday’s Region 5-AAAAA home game.
Unfortunately for the Jaguars, Hiram was able to put together two solid second half quarters to end the game.
As a result, the Hornets remained undefeated in region play with a 41-28 win.
Hiram coach Michelle Caldwell blamed her team’s sluggish first half play on having to face New Manchester after a tough rivalry game against South Paulding the night before.
“We used a lot of energy in the South Paulding game on Friday,” Caldwell said. “We were playing our rivals and the girls know each other. Playing New Manchester is what I feared about playing South Paulding the night before. I have to give props to New Manchester because they out-effort us for most of the game.”
But it still wasn’t enough as the Hornets outscored New Manchester 14-3 in the third quarter to break open a close game. With the win, Hiram improves to 13-3 overall and 9-0 in the region.
The loss drops the Jaguars to 12-4 and 6-3 as they maintain position in third place in the region standings.
Hiram host Chapel Hill on Tuesday while New Manchester plays at Paulding County.
“I was very pleased with our effort in the first half,” New Manchester coach Vincent Parks said. “I just can’t begin to tell you how many layups and easy two-foot shots we missed. We got everything we wanted but just could make the shots.”
Hiram was led by Taylor Simmons, who finished with a game-high 12 points. Teammate Macey McBrayer added nine points in the win.
New Manchester was led by freshmen Anaya Cone and Makaila Cange, who had nine and seven points, respectively.
Jaguars leading scorer Deesha Brefford, who came into the game averaging a little over 16 points, was held to only four points. She scored a two-point basket in the second quarter and added a pair of fourth-quarter free throws.
“It was the same thing with her and the rest of the team in we had shots but couldn’t hit them,” Parks said. “I told the girls that it will be days like that but we just have to fight through it.”
With New Manchester holding a 21-18 lead in the third, Hiram went on a 11-0 run to take control of the game. The Jaguars finally ended its third-quarter scoring drop with 30 seconds remaining in the quarter.
By then the damage had already been done.
“We switched up our defense to get some more pressure on them,” Caldwell said. “We started to get more energy from our girls and it started with our bench.”