An air of excitement preceded the first basketball game of the season at the Yost Center at Hesston College, and the ladies did not disappoint. The Larks hung on to beat Bethany College 63-59 in a thriller. Nikkita Lester and Makayla Ladwig led the way to Hesston’s first win of the season after dropping their first two games on the road.
The first half was a dominant one for the Larks. Hesston’s forwards controlled the boards with relative ease and denied Bethany’s attempts to drive to the basket. This forced the Swedes to shoot from the perimeter, which didn’t work out so well for them. Lester, Ladwig, and Nikki Lowry meanwhile set the offensive pace. Despite a low shooting percentage, Lester would lead all scorers with 16 points while Ladwig and Lowry added 11 and 12 respectively.
The Larks led the Swedes 38-28 at halftime, but a quick 9-2 run fueled entirely by the outside shooting of Vickie Dolan lifted Bethany right back into the game. After that the margin would never extend past seven for Hesston and eventually led to a 49-49 tie with eight minutes remaining in the game. Those minutes saw numerous lead changes, but saw neither team go on a serious run. Hesston had a multitude of chances to put the game away earlier than they did, but six straight missed free throws allowed Bethany to linger in contention. It wasn’t until a late steal and free throw by Morgan Cockrum that the crowd could catch its breath, finally assured that Hesston was going to hold on to four point victory.
Hesston (1-2) travels to Beatrice, Neb on Nov. 11 for their next game against Southeast CC. Their next home game in Nov. 13 against Barton CC.