By JAYCEE DALE
Nothing like a rivalry game to open the season, and a near comeback as well.
But Thursday night’s opener in the Hays City Shootout for the Hays High School girls’ basketball team ended in a 42-37 loss despite a late rally in the final period.
Seniors Aleyia Ruder and Jersey Johnson, juniors Carly Lang and Jillyan Sheldon, and freshman Molly Martin were the starters for the game.
Indians (0-1) started strong on the defensive side, keeping the game scoreless until two minutes left in the quarter when Lang scored and was fouled. At the end of the first quarter, HHS led the low-scoring contest, 6-5.
TMP was able to take its first lead in the second quarter with an easy layup. Hays High faced foul trouble, sending TMP to the line for one-and-ones. A close match-up went back and forth as the Monarchs took the lead going into halftime, 18-12
The Indians came out of the locker room slow, allowing TMP to go on a run to increase the Monarchs’ advantage to 15 at the 3-minute mark. A rough third quarter for the Indians resulted in only two points to TMP’s 13 — leaving TMP ahead, 31-14.
Hays High came out with full-court pressure in the fourth quarter. Ruder and Martin were able to help the Indians get back into the game with free throws. Johnson also came in big with a 3-pointer with two-and-a-half minutes remaining to get the Indians within seven.
After a timeout, the Indians were in the game and became a threat when junior Aspen Melvin hit a 3-pointer to get within four points. With 30 seconds left Ruder hit a 3, closing the gap to 38-35.
Hays High sent TMP to the line with two one-and-one opportunities. The Monarchs extended the lead to 42-35. A late layup by HHS set the final score.
Ruder led HHS with 11 points, and Kassidy Yost paced TMP with 12.
Hays High will play at 3 p.m. today.