Jackson girls collect victory on senior night

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Ashten Howard admitted she has struggled on offense at times during her senior year.

But Howard was on stride with her shot during senior night Friday.

Howard scored 13 points, collected eight rebounds and made five steals against Meadow Heights.

She also combined with freshman Dru Haertling for 15 points in the second quarter when the Indians pulled away from the Panthers.

Jackson went on to win 70-41 in front of a full crowd at Jackson High School.

"If you keep shooting, it's going to fall eventually," Howard said. "We all just tried to get after it and go to the hole. That's the key.

"It's definitely been frustrating [to struggle with shooting] being my senior year, but honestly the team has brought me up and they've pulled us through on a lot of games."

Meadow Heights coach Mitch Nanney said his Panthers (11-6) did not rebound well, which gave Jackson (9-9) numerous second chances on offense, especially in the second quarter.

"What killed us was second shots, third shots, fourth shots, fifth shots," Nanney said. "We gave up too many shots. It's hard for us. We defend for a while. But then we get beat on the boards. Jackson really shot the ball well. Everything we'd watched and scouting reports, [it said] they had shot the ball decently. But I know they weren't scoring 70 points a game. All of a sudden tonight they were hitting everything."

Nanney was impressed with Howard's effort.

"I've seen Ashten a lot," Nanney said. "She plays on the same traveling team in the summer as my daughter did. They play together and she always catches the ball ready to shoot. She's aggressive and she takes the shot when it's there."

The Indians were ahead 26-19 with 4 minutes, 48 seconds remaining before halftime. Jackson closed out the quarter on a 13-1 run to take a 39-20 lead at the half.

Howard scored seven points and Haertling, who is Jackson coach Sheila Haertling's stepdaughter, added four points off the bench during the run.

"We really pushed the ball up the floor today really, really well, I thought, and I know Ashten got a lot of rebounds and she did really, really well tonight," Dru Haertling said. "She rebounded the ball well and she put the ball up a lot. She dominated."

Coach Haertling said Howard is capable of scoring, but has been in a shooting slump. Howard has been averaging about 10 points per game, which is below her average during past seasons. Howard has been staying after practices to work on her shot.

"I think with it being her senior year, she might have felt a little pressure to score more," Haertling said. "And so it was on her mind. It was more of a mental thing for her than I think it was shooting form. But again, the last few games she's come out of it. But I will say, even though she has not shot the ball well, she plays great defense and she still rebounds the ball and her attitude has been great through it all."

The Indians did not let up, even with a 19-point lead entering the third quarter. They went on 15-6 run to start the third quarter, with Chelsea Bartels scoring nine points in the third.

"We just knew we needed to come out strong and not let them get the advantage over us," Bartels said. "And we worked really good together."

Bartels tied with Howard for a team-high 13 points and eight rebounds. She also had three steals. Kaylen Knepp added six steals for the Indians.

Cassandra Bollinger played well for Jackson in the first half with six points and six rebounds, but she left the game with an injury.

"Our trainer seems to think she may have broken her hand," coach Haertling said. "She tried to convince him to tape it up and play, but he said, 'No.'"

@z_agate_HSbasketball_linescore:Meadow Heights128156--41


@z_agate_no tab_no indnt_bld ld:MEADOW HEIGHTS (41) -- Hattie Cook 4, Gina Cureton 8, Mica Morse 1, Heather Dietiker 18 Jillian Mills 2, Chelsey Kight 2, Whitney Welker 6. FG 13, FT 10-20, F 16. (3-pointers: Cook 1, Cureton 1, Dietiker 3)

JACKSON (70-) -- Chelsea Bartels 13, Ashten Howard 13, Cassandra Bollinger 6, Kaylen Knepp 10, Jordan Smith 7, Landon Wachter 6, Brooke Sanders 2, Makenzie Quade 2, Dru Haertling 11. FG 27, FT 7-11, F 23. (3-pointers: Knepp 3, Howard 1, Wachter 1, Bartels 1, Smith 1)

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