HASTINGS — Despite some anxious moments in the second half, the Stillwater girls’ basketball team held off Hastings for a 44-40 Suburban East Conference victory on Tuesday.
It was the second win in three games overall for the Ponies (2-13 SEC, 6-17), who also snapped an eight-game conference losing streak while sweeping the season series from the Raiders (0-15, 4-19).
Haley Balzart provided 15 points for the Ponies. The Raiders switched to a zone throughout the second half and cut into Stillwater’s 28-17 lead while pulling within 39-38 down the stretch.
Paige Becker scored on an offensive rebound and Rilee Day hit a jumper to help the Ponies survive the second-half push from Hastings. The Raiders scored 11 of their 17 first-half points at the free throw line, but Stillwater made them work a little harder for points after the intermission.
“I thought we defended well in teh first half, but we made things difficult for ourselves by fouling them and putting them in the bonus,” Ponies coach Gerard Coury said.
The Ponies continue to play without two of their top players Annie Lauber and Natalie Johnson, who are sidelined with injuries, pushing freshman Rilee Day and Alexis Wahlstrom, among others, to pick up the slack.
“We were running out of gas a little bit,” Coury said.
The victory was No. 500 in the program’s history since becoming a varsity sport in 1974, according to former coach George Hoeppner.
l The Ponies are raising money for the American Cancer Society on Friday when they host league-leader Roseville on Pink Night. Fans are encouraged to wear pink in support of cancer research and monetary donations to the American Cancer Society will also be accepted at the door.
l The Stillwater seventh-grade traveling team will also be introduced prior to the start of the game.
Stillwater 28 16 — 44
Hastings 17 23 — 40
Stillwater (pts): Larissa Colvin 3, Morgan Tschumperlin 4, Rilee Day 8, Haley Balzart 15, Alexis Wahlstrom 1, Meg Pepera 5 and Paige Becker 8.
Hastings: Hanna Norman 16, Nicole Hollar 7, Samantha Schorzman 2, Lauren Thomas and Jill Weinzettel 11.
3-pointers: St, 0; Has, 1.
Free throws: St, 24-31; Has, 9-15.