GRANGER TOWNSHIP — During a contest earlier this month, the Highland girls basketball team pitched a shutout during one quarter against a conference rival.
And still lost.
On Monday, the Hornets committed a ghastly 16 turnovers in the first half against a conference cross-rival.
And still won.
Host Highland improved to 9-2 on the season after cruising to a 52-35 victory over Hudson in a Suburban League crossover matchup Monday in Granger Township.
Despite having all kinds of trouble with the Explorers’ pressure, the Hornets took a 21-12 lead into the locker room.
"It’s kind of uncharacteristic," Highland head coach James Madison said of the turnovers. "Our defense was solid. I told the girls, ‘There’s going to be times when we’re not scoring. As long as our defense holds up, we can hold the other team.’ That was key."
The Hornets had plenty of chances to grab loose balls.
That’s because Hudson also had problems taking care of the ball and simply couldn’t buy a basket. The Explorers missed 28 of their 33 shot attempts in the first 16 minutes.
"We didn’t finish," Hudson head coach Dennis Lawler said. "We missed a lot of layups inside. I thought we were tentative again offensively when it came to attacking. I thought we did a little better job of that in the second half.
"You can’t give teams like this a cushion like that. It’s just an uphill battle and we didn’t quite get to the start we wanted in the third quarter."
Despites their plethora of issues, the Explorers got to within seven (39-32) when freshman guard Ali Menendez drained a 3-pointer early in the fourth quarter.
However, Highland, which lost a heartbreaker to Suburban League American Conference rival Aurora despite outscoring the Greenmen 21-0 in the third quarter Dec. 14, put matters to rest with an 11-0 run.
Three players reached double digits in scoring for the Hornets.
Junior guard Kendall McCormick led the way with 11 points and junior guard Tess Myers and junior post player Lindsey Frederick each had 10 points.
Sophomore guard Madison Miller added nine points for Highland and junior 6-foot post player Alexis Furyes nearly had a triple double.
Furyes eclipsed the two difficult categories with 11 blocked shots and 10 rebounds, but she fell short of the lofty accomplishment since she scored just seven points.
A brief trip to the trainer’s room may have had something to do with it.
Furyes landed awkwardly on her ankle and was briefly removed from the game.
"That’s when they [the Explorers] went on their run," Madison said. "We definitely need her in there. She’s definitely a presence."
Freshman guard Ali Menendez scored a game-high 13 points for the Explorers. Junior center Kate Orazen added eight points for Hudson.
Neither team was particularly stellar from the free throw line.
The Hornets converted 13 of their 23 freebies, while the Explorers made just seven of their 15 foul shots.
While they didn’t put up dazzling numbers on the stat sheet, Lawler was pleased with the efforts from a couple of his post players. Senior center Jocelyn Weaver and sophomore forward Constance Loring provided a spark for Hudson with some quality minutes.
"I thought Constance gave us great energy," Lawler said. "I thought Jocelyn played well. Both kids gave us everything they had [Monday].
"One thing about playing games over Christmas is they get out of their regular routine. We just have to find a way to come out and have more energy. That’s something we have to figure out."
Reporter Frank Aceto can be reached at 330-541-9444, firstname.lastname@example.org or @FrankAceto_RPC.