Tatnall 33, Lake Forest 26 - Thursday, December 27
Over the holiday break, the girls basketball team traveled downstate to participate in the Pat Borowski Holiday Invitational. In a four-team bracket with host school Lake Forest, Red Lion, and Milford, the Hornets were matched up against Lake Forest in their first matchup. It was a highly physical game from the start with both teams putting tremendous defensive pressure on each other. Tatnall was able to use strong man-to-man defense and patient offense to take the lead in the first quarter and cling to a 14-12 halftime advantage. Lake Forest began the third quarter on a 7-0 run to take a five-point lead halfway through the third quarter. But the Hornets did not let missed opportunities on the offensive end deter their fight and determination. Several big baskets at the end of the third quarter and into the beginning of the fourth quarter were big in Tatnall's comeback victory, along with more stingy defense, holding Lake Forest to three fourth-quarter points.
The Hornets were led by 8th grader Zoe Kashner who knocked down a corner jump shot and two driving baskets in that crucial stretch third-quarter stretch. She finished the game with 10 points. Senior captains Erica Hager and Aryana Easterling provided a steady hand throughout the game, and each finished with five points each. 8th grader Kali Clayton was also pivotal in several defensive stops while also scoring five points. The Kirby sisters, Emma and Sophie, both contributed two points each while also stepping up on the defensive end throughout the game. And 8th grader Lydia Colasante scored one point but played a significant role in her ball handling and decision making.
Tatnall 50, Red Lion 19 - Friday, December 28
In the championship game of the Pat Borowski Invitational, the Hornets took on the Lions of Red Lion Christian Academy for the second time this season. The Hornets offensive output was much stronger the second time around. Great ball movement and sharing of the ball was too much for the Lion's 1-2-2 halfcourt defense. Tatnall was also able to use their full court press to turn Red Lion over and secure several easy baskets as Tatnall won going away 50-19.
The Hornets were led in scoring by 8th grader Lydia Colasante with 16 points as she took advantage of open shots and drives in transition. Senior Aryana Easterling finished with 11 points, including several on well executed out of bounds plays. 8th grader Emma Kirby used timely drives to the baskets to finish with seven points, while her 9th grade sister Sophie Kirby provided a strong presence inside with five points. Senior Erica Hager provided good decision making and ball handling against the zone defense while scoring four points. Senior Rachel Cohen scored her first points of the season after returning from injury, knocking down a wing jump shot. And 8th graders Zoe Kashner and Kali Clayton were again strong on the defensive side of the ball while scoring one point apiece.
For two games in a row, the Hornets proved that their willingness to share the ball on the offensive end and spread out the scoring make them a tough team to beat. It was a great stretch over the break to build momentum heading into several conference games after returning to school.
Tatnall 42, Tower Hill 34 - Friday, January 4
The Tatnall girls basketball team kept the momentum going last Friday as they traveled down route 52 to take on conference rival, Tower Hill. In a highly anticipated matchup between the two rival schools, Tatnall came out firing on all cylinders. The Hornets used a full-court press and tremendous ball movement against the Hillers zone defense to take a commanding 15-6 lead after the first quarter. After sadly losing 8th grade point guard Lydia Colasante to a broken wrist suffered in the second quarter, Tatnall's offense slowed a bit as the Hillers took a one-point lead 18-17 at halftime.
But the Hornets would not be beaten on this day. Tatnall's balanced offensive attack came from many different players at many clutch times throughout the entire second half. After suffering a head injury late in the second quarter, 8th grader Emma Kirby came off the bench to start the 4th quarter scoring six big points and finishing with 10 total in the game. While Emma was resting her injury in the third quarter, freshman Sophie Kirby provided a spark in the third quarter knocking down a corner jump shot as well as a big three-point play in transition to give momentum back to the Hornets as she finished with nine points. After Lydia went down with her injury, senior guard Erica Hager assumed the ball-handling role against Tower Hill's pressure. She made great decisions, getting others involved and knocked down a huge three-pointer from the corner late in the third quarter to give Tatnall the lead for good. She finished with eight points for the game. Senior captain Aryana Easterling also hit a clutch three in the third quarter to slow a Tower Hill run in a game in which each basket was big. Easterling finished with seven points overall, including several rebounds down the stretch. 8th grader Zoe Kashner scored five points but played a pivotal defensive role, slowing Tower Hill's primary shooter. Kashner fought through screens and locked in on her defensive assignment, helping limit her to one basket in the second half. Before her injury, Lydia Colasante scored two points and was instrumental in the strong offensive start for Tatnall. And 8th grader Kali Clayton assumed the defensive role of slowing Tower Hill's talented point guard. Clayton was up to the task, limiting her offensive output in the second half and forcing several difficult shots, while also knocking down a clutch free throw late to expand Tatnall's lead.
It was a definitive team win with everyone contributing on both sides of the floor. In a tough environment on the road against a conference rival, each player stepped up in key moments to secure the 8-point victory. The win is the third in a row for the Hornets and improves their record to 5-3 overall as they head into a conference heavy schedule over the next few weeks.