BRITT | The West Hancock girls basketball team came into Friday night's game with an undefeated record, but at the end of the first half, it seemed like that perfection might be in jeopardy. As the teams left the court for their respective locker room pep talks, the Eagles trailed 29-26.
But after a big second half from sophomore scorer Rachel Leerar, West Hancock roared back for a 67-51 win. After being held to 10 points before the break, Leerar scored 16 points in the second half, finishing with 26 points on 6-of-14 shooting, and 13 free throws made.
“We didn’t change anything at the half, the only thing I told them at half was that we have to become attackers,” Eagles coach Paul Sonius said. "In the first half, our offense just wanted to stay on the outside, try to make passes and shoot the ball. That wasn’t really our job. We’re better when we attack, and we’re better when we use our post player the way we need to.”
Sonius credited the unselfish play of Leerar, who has averaged 21.8 points per game, as a big reason his team has had success.
“I think this team has understood, they don’t get caught up in the idea of how many points she gets,” Sonius said. "They’re happy with what they’re doing, but Rachel, you can see at the end of the game, she had an easy layup, and she shot it out to someone for a three-pointer. She’s not one that is going ‘Her, her, her”.
Leerar was not only a scoring threat, but was also a problem for Forest City’s defense all over the court. Aside from her 26 points, Leerar finished with four rebounds, five assists, four steals, and a block. Her attacking style of play has created problems all season for the Eagles’ opponents.
“One of the biggest adjustments we made (at halftime) was to become more aggressive,” Leerar said. “On the offensive end, with our cuts and drives, instead of standing outside and passing it around. On the defensive end, we weren’t rebounding at all. We let them get too many offensive boards, and that kills you, because they put them back up for shots that went in.”
Junior Amanda Chizek also had a big game for the Eagles, finishing with 15 rebounds. Freshman Kennedy Kelly finished with 11 points, and junior Madison Eisenman had five steals.
West Hancock beat North Union by 10 points on Monday, Jan. 21, keeping their record a perfect 17-0 on the season.
The final score was West Hancock 61, North Union 51.
Sophomore Rachel Leerar scored a team-high 19 points, collecting five rebounds, and four steals. Junior Riley Hiscocks scored 14 points for the Eagles, and junior post player Amanda scored 11 points, and collected 10 rebounds.