Lady Greenbacks battle through tough week

Kahrie Stegman
Gabby Gatlin, (#5) a young, upcoming player for the Lady Pratt High School Greenbacks, shoots for 2 in a game at home against Haven.

The Pratt High School girls basketball team had a tough week, dropping two league games.

On Tuesday, Feb. 18, Pratt played Halstead, where they lost 23-56.

“In the Halstead game we definitely didn’t have the intensity and focus on the defensive end and the game got away from us,” said head coach Dustin Hildebrand.

One of Halstead’s players, Gerber, was especially tough to contain, creating a huge challenge for the Greenbacks.

“Offensively we struggled against their pressure,” Hildebrand said. “They really got out and defended. We also didn’t do a good job of getting back on transition defense and gave them easy baskets that way.”

Halstead pulled away in the second quarter, scoring 17 points verses the Greenbacks’ 4. Pratt had four consecutive turnovers.

“From there we never bounced back,” Hildebrand said. “We rushed and forced things early in our possessions and didn’t let the offense flow for us.”

The Lady Greenbacks came close to a win after battling hard in Friday’s game against Haven.

“Our defensive intensity and focus was so much better than in the Halstead game,” said Hildebrand.

Earlier in the season when Pratt played Haven, they lost by 28 points, much due to Haven’s star player, Paramore.

“We wanted to still keep someone on Paramore but needed a better effort in the paint and not giving up offensive rebounds to their post girls,” Hildebrand said. “For the most part we made things difficult and didn’t break down defensively where it was easy for them to score.”

Two Pratt players were not available to play in the Friday game. Sian Helfrich was sick and Brooklyn Humble had a concussion, so freshman Gabby Gatlin and sophomore Sierra Dunlap stepped in to defend against Paramore.

“Gabby was our main defender on Paramore and did an amazing job on her,” Hildebrand said.  “Sierra also came in the game and chased her around and made things tough.”

Gatlin and Dunlap were able to hold her to scoring only 6 points.

Pratt’s offense was strong on Friday, despite having two starting players out.

“On the offensive end we really came in focused on being patient on offense and not afraid to run the offense for 20-30 seconds at a time,” said Hildebrand. “We did a great job of being poised even when they switched between a 3-2 zone and man defense.”

The Greenbacks led 10-8 in the first quarter, but lost some momentum in the second quarter, allowing Haven to score 15. Pratt regrouped in the last couple of minutes of the second quarter, closing the gap to 8 points.

“We could have easily folded but we fought back,” Hildebrand said.

The Lady Greenbacks came out of halftime ready to take back their lead, and scored 11 points verses Haven’s 2, taking a 1-point lead.

“From there it was a back and forth game,” said Hildebrand

With about five minutes left, the Greenbacks were ahead by 6, but Haven fought back to a tie game.

“We missed some chances at the free throw line to build a lead but still got a 1-point lead after Lexi made a 3-pointer with about a minute left,” said Hildebrand.

From there, every few seconds, the lead changed. In the last ten seconds, Haven was up by four, and with one second left, Lexi Walker shot and scored a three-pointer. They didn’t have time to foul and extend the game, ending the game with a score of 43-44 in Haven’s favor.

“We came out on the wrong end but felt we were the hardest working team out there and can be proud of that,” Hildebrand said. “The main thing is that we take that intensity on the defensive end and poise on the offensive end and apply that down these last games we have and not fall back to what we had on Tuesday against Halstead.”

The Lady Greenbacks are currently in the #11 spot for seeding, and will most likely be on the road for their first round of sub-state. They won’t know who they will be playing until every team has played all of their games.

The Greenbacks played Hesston on Thursday, Feb. 27 in Pratt for Senior Night, a game rescheduled from Feb. 25.