Gael girls can’t stop Bulldogs

Hampton-Dumont proved to be a thorn in the side of the St. Edmond girls basketball team again here Tuesday night.

In a showdown of North Central Conference leaders, the 13th-ranked (Class 2A) Gaels (12-2 overall, 11-2 NCC) were unable to avenge their only previous setback of the season, dropping a hard-fought 48-45 decision at the SEHS gym.

Trailing by three points in the closing seconds, the Gaels actually had one last chance to send the game to overtime, however, Jaci Stumpf’s desperation half-court heave banged off the side of the backboard, allowing the Bulldogs (10-2, 9-1) to narrowly escape with a sixth straight victory.

“I thought we did some nice things defensively, but we seemed to pick up a foul everytime we started to make a run,” SEHS head coach Scott Messerly said. “After getting through the first half ok, our foul trouble really caught up with us in the fourth quarter. Credit Hampton, though, for playing well both times we’ve faced them.”

As a team, the Gaels were whistled for 27 fouls compared to only 16 for the Bulldogs. St. Edmond went 5-for-7 from the charity stripe, while Hampton-Dumont finished 24 of 36, including 15-for-22 in the final frame alone.

Anna Yung, a 5-foot-7 sophomore guard, propelled the SEHS offensive charge with 16 points despite going just 6-for-19 from the field. Junior Alli Huss was next in line with eight points, while classmate Maddie McCarville added seven.

“We shot the ball pretty decent in the first half (the Gaels went 12 of 29 from the field in the opening 16 minutes), but we didn’t get a whole lot of production from our big people late in the game,” said Messerly. “I felt Maddie gave us some good minutes and played excellent defense, and Brigid (Hanley) and Clare (Flattery) both provided a huge lift off the bench.”

Leading by six points to begin the fourth quarter, the Gaels were outscored 19-10 down the stretch. St. Edmond, which saw its nine-game win streak snapped in the loss, was also called for a technical foul and a costly lane violation on a free throw in the last 3:45 of the contest.

“Because of their slow-down style, we knew Hampton would probably takes us right down to the wire,” Messerly said. “We had plenty of chances at the end, but we just couldn’t get our shots to fall (the Gaels were 3-for-16 from the field in the fourth quarter) .”

Taryn Barz sparked the Bulldogs with a game-high 17 points, including 15 after the break. Rachel Miller and Jessica Speake both added nine points for the visitors.

Hampton-Dumont, which missed five of six free throws in the final minute, was held to only 12 field goals and committed 22 turnovers.

Next action for the Gaels is Friday at Algona (10-4, 8-3). The Bulldogs topped Clarion-Goldfield last night, 40-33.