The Era Lady Hornets didn’t want to be forced to play Muenster in a tie-breaking game for the top seed in the district for several reasons. After Muenster fell to Poolville in its second go-around playing the Lady Monarchs, Era needed to defeat Poolville last week to win the district outright.
Not only did the Lady Hornets take down Poolville on Tuesday, Feb. 5, they did so in emphatic fashion to the tune of a 48-25 victory.
Clinching the district championship was the first goal the Lady Hornets set when the season began so the win over Poolville was special according to Era head coach Don Neu.
“Once we slipped up at Muenster, we knew we needed some help,” Neu said. “It would have been a heated battle again against Muenster, but anytime you play in those kind of games, you risk injury. I guess it might have been a good warm-up game. You can look at it that way. At the same time, I think we both felt that way that we’d rather not play each other.”
Neu considered playing a warm-up game before Era’s opening-round playoff game against Lindsay at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 12 at Gainesville High School, but he thought it was better for his team to rest and recover from some minor injuries.
Neu said he was pleased with how the team played against Poolville.
“We executed offensively better and our defense was very good against Poolville,” Neu said. “We played with a lot of energy and we played with a lot of heart. Defensively, we really got after it. It was fun.”
Era held a 27-15 lead at halftime and led 43-19 at the end of the third quarter. The Lady Hornets held Poolville to just 10 points in the second half.
Junior Brianna Knabe led the team with 13 points, while junior Sandra Christian added 11 points. Junior Maddie Chisum and senior Maddie Thompson each had six points while seniors Sydney Lane and Karlee Tucker had five points each.
Despite how well the Lady Hornets played defensively, Neu said there is still room for improvement.
“I think defensively we can continue to get better,” Neu said. “I mean, our goal is to get better every day. I feel like these girls go out and practice like they always want to get better every day and I think they have bought into that.”
As far as the Lady Hornets’ matchup against Lindsay, Neu said the Lady Knights have some good players.
“They’ve got Karyle Case and they’ve got [Allison] Hedrick who is dangerous outside,” Neu said. “They’re definitely capable of winning and we know we’re gonna have to be ready to play as a difficult first-round matchup.”
Muenster defeated Lindsay 59-42 on Dec. 29 and Neu said the Lady Hornets are expecting the Lady Knights to play an up-tempo defensive scheme.
Neu said they have plenty of respect for Lindsay, which pulled off a 41-23 upset over Muenster in the first round of the playoffs last season.
“This team knows what Lindsay did to Muenster last year in the first round,” Neu said. “That was a major upset, so we’re using that as a little bit of inspiration. We don’t want that to happen to us as it can happen to anybody. You better take every game serious or you will be sitting at home.”
Patrick Hayslip can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @PatrickHayslip