Three weeks ago, Hartland spotted Howell a 4-0 lead, then ran of 12 points in a row and went on to win by 20.
Tonight, the schools meet again in a critical girls basketball contest, but, talking to coaches, the 48-28 Hartland decision wasn’t as decisive as it looked.
“They kicked our butts, and the score showed that,” Howell coach Tim Olszewski said. “But on film we saw a lot of things we think we can do a better job of (executing).”
“I’m saying it wasn’t a 20-point game,” Hartland coach Don Palmer said. “It was more like a 10-11 point game. In the last 4-5 minutes, Howell had to do things it didn’t want to do. You have to shoot 3s, gamble on defense, foul, that kind of stuff.”
The rematch comes with both teams at 13-1 overall. Hartland is 8-0 in the KLAA West, while Howell is 7-1.
The game will be broadcast on The Livingston Post. Game time is approximately 7 p.m.
“We’re anxious to get at it, very excited,” Olszewski said. “We’ve been looking forward to this for a long time, an opportunity to play a game against a great opponent.”
Hartland would clinch the division title with a victory, while a Howell win would forge a tie going into Friday’s division finales. Both will be on the road; Hartland at Grand Blanc and Howell at Brighton.
“I think the key for us is to get to our plan and be disciplined enough not to deviate from it even if things aren’t working out as well as we’d like them to early,” Olszewski said. “I think we have to stay true to who we are and what we do and not panic.”
“I think (Howell) will come out very, very intense and committed, and we have to match their energy,” Palmer said. “I think after the first quarter you settle down and play, but the first quarter’s going to be emotion and adrenalin.
“If I were one game up like we are, I’d like to have this one at Hartland,” Palmer said, chuckling. “But this is why you play, and we won the first round. It’s their turn to try and hold home serve. That’s what it’s about, and we’ve got to try and take it away from them.”