Hobbton’s lady Wildcats traveled to Pender Tuesday night for their first conference game of the season and game home with a 65-51 victory.
The girls came out playing strong, something coach Alfonza Hooper said he had stressed after a sluggish start in the team’s last game, and quickly amassed 22 points in the first quarter while allowing the home team only 11 points.
“That really was the key to the game,” Hooper said. “Playing hard at the start set the tone, and gave us the opportunity to score those 22 points. The girls really played strong on defense and they were rebounding well, both which contributed to the win.”
But it wasn’t all easy, either. Although the Lady ‘Cats went into the half leading 37-22, a slump in the third quarter, where Hobbton only scored 7 points, led to what Hooper called a “dog fight,” throughout the period.
“We weren’t finding the basket and capitalizing on opportunities, and that gave Pender a chance to get back in the game,” Hooper stressed.
But despite the sluggish third, Hobbton roared back in the fourth, pushing ahead and holding their opponents.
“Overall, I thought it was a good game. The girls really worked hard. They are shooting with more confidence now, and that’s important, too.”
Also helping Hobbton was the return of starter Michaela Wilson who wasn’t expected to play Tuesday “She had the flu and we weren’t sure she would be back, but she came to school today (Tuesday) and was ready to get on the court tonight. She certainly helped us out a lot,” Hooper said.
Wilson led scoring for the Wildcats with 25 points.
Free throw shooting, too, Hooper said, was important to the win. “They were good from the line tonight,” the coach said.
Hobbton shot 16 of 24 from the charity stripe with Wilson at 100 percent and teammate Sasha Martin shooting 80 percent from the free throw line.
Martin had 19 points on the night and Casey Hobbs had her second double-double of the season, with 11 points and 16 rebounds.
The win moves Hobbton’s record to 6-3 overall and 1-0 in the Tri-County Conference.
They host a powerful James Kenan Thursday night.
“I told the girls they should savor the win, but then it’s back to work to get ready for James Kenan. They are one of the top teams in the conference, so we’ve got to be prepared when we face them Thursday,” Hooper stressed.