The Muenster Lady Hornets have a crucial district tilt against Era on Tuesday, Jan. 14, but before they could look ahead, they had to take care of Alvord on Friday, Jan. 10.
Not only did the Lady Hornets emerge victorious, they did so with relative ease as they jumped out to a 31-12 halftime lead en route to a 56-21 victory.
Muenster head coach Chris Hightower has plenty of respect for Alvord and considered the team a strong test in district play.
On Friday, Muenster shot out of the gates and instantly took control of the basketball game.
“Alvord had a good record and is ranked like we are, so I was pretty worried about it,” Hightower said. “We have Era on Tuesday and Poolville on Friday, so it’s a tough three-game stretch. It was a crazy day with the weather and the tornado stuff, but we finally got there and it was a good atmosphere. We handled the pressure pretty good and we pushed ahead by 20 in the first half and I felt really good at halftime.”
Muenster held Alvord to just six points in the third quarter and three in the fourth quarter and while the Lady Hornets could have lost their focus, Hightower said he was pleased with how his team closed out the game.
“We knew they were going to come back with a press, but overall, we handled it well,” Hightower said. “All nine girls contributed and I was able to rest some starters in preparation for a big game on Tuesday. To get that win on the road was big for us to set the tone for district and get our heads back to where they need to be.”
Annie Anderle led Muenster in scoring with 14 points while Martie McCoy added 12 points. Kaitlin Hennigan had eight points and every other player for the Lady Hornets got on the score sheet.
Now that the Era matchup is just around the corner, Hightower knows the importance that game can have towards naming the district champion.
“It’s natural to look ahead to a rivalry game,” Hightower said. “They’ve always been tough games. Coach [Don] Neu is always going to do a great job and Briana Knabe is always going to do their thing. We did a great job with our focus against Alvord. We didn’t want to be satisfied with a 20-point lead against Alvord and we were able to extend that lead. I was pretty pleased by that for sure.”
Last season, each team had a victory, but Muenster slipped up late in the season against Poolville to cede the title to Era.
Muenster will host Era on Tuesday beginning at 6:15 p.m. and Hightower said having home-court advantage in the first of the two key district matchups is huge.
“I honestly think us and Era, for some reason, don’t get the clout that we’ve earned for our region or throughout the state,” Hightower said. “For our area, I think it’s OK. Both teams have had tradition, but I think this is one of the bigger games for the region and if not the state. If you’re going to be one of the better teams, you have to beat the teams that are there. For it being such an early game in district, it’s very important.”