Hopewell’s Titans figured they had one good run left.
The Titans outscored Hough 10-3 over the final 3 minutes, 3 seconds for a 49-42 girls’ basketball win in the MECKA 4A opener for both teams. Hopewell (7-0, 1-0) played its most consistent stretch with the game on the line against a young and scrappy opponent.
“We knew what we’ve been doing in games is get a spurt sooner or later, so we had to stick with it today,” Titans coach Tyrelle Anderson said.
Rhema Francis led Hopewell with 10 points, followed by Shania Haynes and Erin Thames with seven each. Renee Alquiza paced Hough (5-1, 0-1) with 11 points, while Alex Denny and Juliet Swinea chipped in nine apiece.
Hopewell turned the tide with defense, holding Hough to one scoring possession late. The momentum swung for good when Shaniah Haynes’ three-pointer and Rhema Francis’ steal and layup pushed the Titans ahead 45-39 and Hopewell did more than enough to seal the result.
“Lauren Parks and Megan Sanders had a spark for us defensively,” Anderson said. “That’s what we need – a couple of people that come in and spark the defense with a play or two and we take it from there.”
The first half was dominated by defense and missed opportunities, with Hough taking a 22-20 advantage at the break. Neither side led by more than four points until the fourth quarter when Hopewell imposed its will defensively and Hough struggled to respond.
“We got away from the game plan and it came back to haunt us,” Huskies coach Robert Ruthenberg said. “(Hopewell) played a very aggressive defense. We’ve got a young team and this game was really the first big game a lot of these girls have seen with this kind of crowd, this kind of atmosphere, this kind of pressure.”
Hopewell on the other hand, managed the stakes with the outcome in doubt to remain undefeated.
“We know Hough and this is in their house, so we don’t take anything for granted,” Anderson said. “You have to give them a lot of credit, too.”