A furious late charge by the girls varsity basketball team, capped by a remarkable out-of-bounds play, resulted in a thrilling 43-40 victory over visiting Berkshire on Feb. 5.
As the final horn sounded, the players for the Bearcats (8-7) leapt into each other’s arms in jubilation after outscoring the Bears 17-3 over the last 4:30 of the game.
The comeback was punctuated by a layup by reserve forward Holly Knight ’21, who received a pinpoint inbound pass under the baseline to give the Bearcats the game-winning basket.
As usual, scorers Maggie Smith ’20 (19 pts.) and Jordyn Harrison ’22 (10 pts.) led the way for Hotchkiss, who struggled mightily to find the bottom of the net for the majority of the game until their final rally.
Defense would ultimately prove to be the answer for the home team, which forced 38 Berkshire turnovers, many coming in the final five minutes at the hands of a fearsome full-court press by Hotchkiss.
Smith also led the way in rebounding, collecting 10 total boards for the double-double. The team produced a well-balanced effort overall, with nine different players logging at least ten minutes of game time.
Other major contributors included starting forward Harper Pertchik ’20, who did not log major countable stats (2 pts., 5 rebs.), but finished with a team-high +16 plus/minus rating.
At the start of the game, it seemed that neither team would be able to gain control or get going offensively. The first points of the game came on a Berkshire free throw with 4:52 left in the first quarter, and the first basket came on a Berkshire three-pointer a minute later. The quarter ended with the Bears enjoying a narrow 10-7 lead.
In the second quarter, Berkshire seemed to pull away, scoring seven straight points for their first double-digit lead of the day at 17-7. The two teams traded a handful of baskets down the stretch to go into halftime with a 21-13 Berkshire lead.
After intermission, the game continued with more of the same pace, and even halfway through the third period Berkshire enjoyed a 27-19 lead. Hotchkiss then mounted its first of several rallies in the game, cutting the lead to 29-26 on baskets and free throws by Smith, Harrison, and starting forward Sadie Gould ’20.
Berkshire immediately countered with their own five-point run that seemed to put the game out of reach once again.
Trading baskets in the fourth quarter, the two teams kept the lead around ten points for about four minutes before the Bearcats went on the final climactic run of the day. Beginning with a three-pointer by co-captain Delaney Hayes ’20, the home team put on the press and cranked up the pressure to force six Berkshire turnovers over the final four minutes.
Smith led the way offensively for Hotchkiss down the stretch, making three layups and a free-throw in the final seconds to ice the game.
After Long Winter Weekend, the Bearcats will resume action next Wednesday with an away game at Kent.