By CEDRIQUE FLEMMING
HULBERT — Hulbert girls’ basketball coach Rick Ott missed the last 10 days for personal reasons, and Allison Arnall welcomed him back to the bench with a huge performance in a 54-38 victory over Warner Tuesday night inside Rider Fieldhouse.
Arnall finished with 11 points on 5-of-6 shooting, but more importantly she also contributed seven steals, seven assists and three rebounds in 31 minutes. The floor general had three steals and two assists in the first three minutes of the contest and appeared to be in complete control of proceedings from the opening tip.
“That is exactly how I’ve wanted her to perform all year long,” Ott said. “I was gone last week, but I’ve been trying to stress how much I want her to be more in control of what is going on. I want her to run the floor and push the tempo, and she did a great job of that tonight.”
Tiffany Thompson only made 9-of-22 shots, but she finished with a game-high 26 points, while adding four steals of her own.
“Tiffany shot the ball pretty well. She’s capable of missing two and hitting three in a row,” Ott said. “I liked her aggressiveness tonight. She was really attacking the basket.”
Hulbert (12-7) jumped out to a 20-8 lead at the end of the first quarter and never looked back. The Lady Riders led 31-17 at intermission and 43-27 at the end of three.
The home team only turned the ball over 10 times and recorded 15 steals, while shooting 43 percent (22-for-51) from the field.
Warner shot 39 percent (16-for-41) from the field, and Raven Girty led the Lady Eagles with 12 points. Kaylee Mathews pulled down 10 rebounds for the visitors.
Warner 51, Hulbert (boys) 39
A massive discrepancy from behind the three-point line and at the free-throw line proved costly as the Hulbert boys fell to Warner, 51-39.
The Eagles (10-8) made 10 of 18 from the charity stripe and nailed five triples for a total of 25 points. The Riders (11-8), on the other hand, finished 0-for-2 from the free-throw line and were 0-for-14 from distance until there were 19 ticks left on the clock.
Mason Fielden hit the first three of the game on the second-to-last possession, but it was too little, too late for the home side.
“Our shooting performance really hurt us tonight. Sometimes you’re hot and sometimes you’re cold. We just didn’t have it tonight,” Hulbert coach Darron McCord said. “We have a lot of inexperience, and sometimes guys try to take it upon themselves to get us out of trouble. We are still figuring each other out.”
Parker Taylor led Hulbert with 14 points and 14 rebounds. He was the lone member of the team to make more than half his shots, finishing 7-for-12 from the field. Brandon Thompson added eight points and 12 boards.
“Parker is a young guy, and he’s growing into his body,” McCord said. “He’s making more mature decisions every minute he’s on the floor.”
Hulbert finished the contest 19-for-62 (31 percent) from the field and 1-for-16 (six percent) from distance. The Riders were able to win the rebound battle, 45-38.
Warner shot 18-for-52 (35 percent) from the field and 5-for-20 (25 percent) from beyond the arc. The Eagles recorded 14 assists to just seven turnovers, and the team was led by Grey Denton’s 17 points and 10 rebounds. Kyle Taylor dropped 12 points, and Tim Smithson added 10 points and nine boards.
Warner only led 17-16 at halftime on the strength of a buzzer-beating triple that banked in from an impossible angle by Smithson. The visitors outscored Hulbert 18-8 in the third quarter, however, and cruised to the 12-point triumph.