Howell girls hand Hartland its first loss — with archived broadcast

HOWELL — On paper, Hartland was a near-unstoppable force going into Tuesday’s KLAA West showdown at Howell.

But the Highlanders proved, once again, that games are played on hard wood, with hustle and determination and a little luck, and all three factors came into play in a 37-31 upset of the Eagles.

It was the first win for Howell (5-3 overall, 4-0 KLAA West) over Hartland in four years, an 11-game losing streak, and it snapped Hartland’s 33-game regular-season winning streak over the past two calendar years.

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“I think it came down to the toughest team,” said Howell’s Molly Deurloo, who had 12 points and six rebounds. “We played very well all through the game, and they played tough, too. We wanted it more. We had good defensive stops, and it showed.”

“They came out with a lot of energy,” Hartland senior Gracey Metz said. “I think we went into it with the mentality that we thought we could do this again, easily. We knew they would give us a fight. Today, they just fought harder.”

One key was at the point, where Howell’s Maeve St. John scored 16 points, including four 3s and hitting both ends of a crucial one-and-one late in the game. Hartland’s point guard, Amanda Roach, was held to five points thanks in large part to the efforts of Howell defender Sophie Daugard.

“Sophie did a great job disrupting the ball, not allowing them to do things as comfortably as they’d like” Howell coach Tim Olszewski said. “Most of their points came on offensive rebounds. Sophie was coming off a 25-point game (Friday), and she was face-guarded a lot. It left other people open.”

Hartland got out to a quick 5-1 lead, then went ice-cold while the Highlanders went on a 12-0 run to take the lead for good. The Eagles were scoreless for 10 minutes in the first half and trailed 16-9 at halftime.

Howell took a 25-15 lead in the second half before the Hartland offense got into gear, making a 12-2 run to get within two, 29-27, midway through the fourth quarter.

But Daugard scored with three minutes to go, and on Howell’s next possession, Amelia Storm came up big, getting a layup to put the Highlanders up 33-27, and they were not threatened again.

“I thought in the first half, they got all the 50-50 balls,” Hartland coach Don Palmer said. “And then they were diving for loose balls when we were bending over. I thought the second half was a little better for us, but we didn’t shoot it well and they had a lot to do with that. Our missing layups turned the game around.

“I thought Maeve had to have a great game to beat us, and she did,” he continued. “We couldn’t do anything with her, and their supporting cast did just enough.”

Olszewski added his assessment of Caitlyn Rayl, who held Hartland’s Lauren Sollom to a team-high eight points after she had scored 25 last weekend.

“(Rayl) gives up a foot to (Sollom) and holds her to eight points,” Olszewski said. “She’s the unsung hero.”

Howell, alone in first place in the KLAA West, travels to Novi on Friday, while Hartland plays host to Brighton.

“You cannot mope in this game,” Palmer said. “I’ll check the mailbox the next couple days to see if there are any sympathy cards, but I don’t think there will be any.

“I thought it was a good high school game,” he continued. “And the best team won. I have no problem with that.”


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