Jenna Hayes

Abilene sophomore Jenna Hayes (4) squares up for a three-pointer early in Abilene’s 43 - 32 win over #10 Augusta Friday night in Abilene. Hayes shot in a career high 16 points to lead all scorers.

Needing a bounce back win after a disappointing loss at Rock Creek on Tuesday, the Abilene Cowgirls regrouped and came out fighting as they controlled the number 10 ranked Augusta Lady Orioles 43-32 Friday night.

Abilene pressured the visitors from Augusta from the beginning of the game as sophomore Jenna Hayes set the tone for the night with a swishing three-pointer from the top of the key to begin the scoring. Junior Abi Lillard hit her first bucket of the night and the Cowgirls opened with a 5-0 lead barely two minutes into the contest.

“This was a complete team win,” Abilene head coach Mike Liby said. “They’ve only played one game and we really didn’t know who their shooters are. We wanted to limit their shooters as much as possible regardless of who they were. We focused on inside play the last couple of days in practice. Inside play, taking care of the ball. We worked on how to defend the post better, that was something we needed to do better. We spent some good days on that. Proud of all of them for their work tonight.”

Hayes had a career high, game high 16 points to lead the Cowgirls. She felt comfortable with her three shot as she got two in the game and she was a perfect four-for-four at the free-throw line in the fourth quarter when Abilene needed her to hold off a modest rally by Augusta.

“When Jenna is on the floor longer for us we are a much better team,” coach Liby said. “We talked about that a lot. She remained out of foul trouble for us early and that paid off tonight.”

Lillard and Hayes teamed with senior Hannah Snowball and junior Allison Liby to control the inside game for the Cowgirls. Liby led the Cowgirls in rebounds with five while Lillard, Hayes and Snowball were all strong underneath the basket.

Out front, coach Liby had seniors Beth Holmes and Jade Vopat controlling the basketball and dishing off assists to their teammates.

Holmes popped in 13 points while shooting 83 percent on the night and she had five steals against Augusta. Vopat doesn’t shoot much but her nothing but net three shot helped the Cowgirls to a 29-19 lead at halftime.

Sophomore Joy Clemence got her first career varsity points with a three-shot in Abilene’s first quarter. She was one for four on the night.

“Joy was really cool, getting her first varsity points,” the coach said. “We are all really happy for her.”

Abilene’s defense which helped them win the opener against Smoky Valley returned strong on the home court again Friday as the Cowgirls held the Lady orioles to 13 second half points with just two coming in the third quarter.

Augusta junior guard Maycee Anderson led the Orioles in scoring with 15 points, their only player in double digits.

Abilene improved to 2-1 after the complete team win and will now travel to Concordia on Friday to begin NCKL play. The Cowgirls are looking to defend their title from a year ago.

“All of the league games are going to be tough, but it is always hard to win at Concordia,” coach Liby said.

Contact Ron Preston at sports@abilene-rc.com.

Scoring Summary:

Cowgirls 43, Augusta 32

Augusta 4 15 2 11 – 32

Abilene 17 12 7 7 – 43

Augusta (1-1) – Peterson 6, Terry 4, Anderson 15, Scott 5, Slusser 2. Totals: 11 (2) 9-10 32.

Abilene (2-1) – Holmes 13, Vopat 3, Lillard 6, Hayes 16, Snowball 2, Clemence 3. Totals: 12 (4) 7-15 43

Contact Ron Preston at sports@abilene-rc.com.

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