BY CORA TASSET
Tiger women’s basketball is back in Hays as the Tigers opened the 2020-2021 season versus Washburn Tuesday. After their season was cut short last year with a 23-7 record the team is excited to be back on the court at Gross Memorial Coliseum as Fort Hays beat Washburn 75-69.
“I was really excited to finally play; we’ve been in preseason for a very long time and then we had some games get postponed and we were really bummed,” senior forward Whitney Randall said. “Then we had to quarantine and I think we were just really ready to get going and start playing again.”
The Tigers started out strong, getting the tip with Jaden Hobbs immediately putting up two points. Along with Hobbs, Whitney Randall and Cydney Bergmann are returning players starting for the Tigers. New players and starters are Olivia Hollenback and Katie Wagner.
After the first quarter the Tigers led 20-19. Hobbs claimed four of those points, while Randall added nine points. Newcomer Hollenback had five points in the first quarter as well. After the second quarter the Ichabods led 38-35. Randall ended the half with 14 points, two blocks, one assist, and one rebound.
“Whitney has been playing with a lot of confidence this year, especially on the offensive end and her rebounding has improved since last year,” Head Coach Tony Hobson said. “Katie [Wagner] is just a warrior and she is relentless and strong around the glass.”
Hobbs added a rebound and a steal, and Hollenback added one steal, two assists, and two rebounds. Wagner also put up eight points, two steals, three rebounds, and one assist during the first half.
Washburn led Fort Hays 58-54 after the third quarter. Randall had 22 points and Wagner had 11 points going into the final period. The Tigers finally grabbed the lead with 3:37 left in the game and never gave it up.
“After Jaden fouled out the rest of the kids kind of banded together and finished the game strong,” Hobson said. “We definitely need our freshman and they will be playing a lot of minutes this season.”
Randall led the team with a career high 26 points, along with three blocks, two assists, and two rebounds. Freshman, Wagner put up 17 points and added three steals, one assist, and eight rebounds. Hobbs added seven points, one steal, two assists, and one rebound.
“We finally got a stop on defense in the fourth quarter and defense wins games for us,” Randall said. “I’m just really proud of our team as a whole to fight and come back and win this game.”