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Streaking Red Devils Turn Back Malone

BY DAVE SHEA

HAMMOND - Knowing when to charge and and when to retreat and hold your ground played key roles for Hammond in a 63-59 NAC interdivisional Girls Basketball win over Malone on Friday night. Led by Kelsey Bennett (4 assists, 4 steals) who buried four 3-pointers in a 22-point effort and Avery Kenyon (7 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals) who mixed two 3's with athletic finishes at the goal in a 16-point effort; the Devils opened a 38-26 lead at the half and widened it to 56-42 in the third quarter.

But steadied by the trio of Madison Ansari with a game-high 26 points and MacKenzie Lane and Leah Gallagher who both scored 16 points; the Huskies started a concerted comeback.

Gallagher, who also grabbed 14 rebounds, scored 11 points in the third quarter and Ansari, who converted a series of poised runs to the rim off steals, and Lane combined for seven and six points in the fourth quarter where the Huskies gained a 17-10 advantage.

The Huskies (9-7) eventually whittled the lead to four points before Hailee Cunningham and Bennett drew charges on back to back possessions to seal the win.

"Kelsey Bennett hand a good floor game tonight controlling tempo and pace. Drawing those charges was good management of the game and the girls did a good jump running the shot clock to reduce their possessions," said Hammond Coach Shawn Dack after the 14-1 Lady Devils recorded their 14th straight win.

"Tonight versus Malone we did a lot of nice things. But (again) I a coach need to fix the mistakes to make them a more efficient, intelligent team.  Our intensity was much better tonight.  Focus as well. Coach Skelly (Malone Coach Shelly Skelly) always has her teams ready to play and she’s done that time and time again. Very good coach and her teams reflect that."

Cunningham injected seven first half points into the offense, Kylie Vaugh scored eight points with seven rebounds and Alyvia Crosby and Sadey Sprabary added four and two points. Ryleigh McCauley contributed three points to the Malone cause.

"You know there is no coach who is more prouder of their girls in how they play, the dedication the show, and the perseverance they have night in and night out than I. I’ve been very fortunate to have kids, whether it was boys soccer and baseball long ago or girls soccer and basketball through the years. The kids are the ones who make it special," said Coach Dack after Devils followed up on an intense 46-42 NAC West win over Edwards-Knox on Thursday.

"Jordan Kloepping did a very good job off the bench for us. As well as Caitlynn Cunningham and also Alyvia Crosby who did fantastic. Hailey Cunningham, Avery Kenyon, Kylie Vaughan, Sadey Sprabary were all rock solid. It was a tough back to back games and very good for the growth of the girls." 

The Hammond JVs also continued an outstanding season posting a 63-18 victory where Landree Kenyon buried five 3s in a 21-point outing and Ava Howie connected on three treys scoring 18 points. Hailee Manning scored 15 points followed by Zoey Cunningham with eight and Brooklyn Arquitt with one.

McKenna Monette led Malone with seven points.

Hammond's Hailey Cunningham gets off a shot under heavy defensive pressure by Malone's Leah Gallagher.




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