Girls basketball: Hosino, Tueller lead Northridge past Bonneville in Region 5 opener
LAYTON — This week’s chart-shattering COVID-19 case numbers were high enough to eventually snake their way into the northern Utah high school sports scene, postponing at least a dozen games.
That left Friday’s Region 5 girls basketball opener between Bonneville and Northridge as the only region game of the night.
Region 5’s new kids on the block, the Knights, were missing several players due to said COVID-19, but still managed a 44-31 win over the Lakers in a game where neither team led by more than double digits until the final minute of the game.
In the words of both Northridge coach Chris Smith and leading scorer Madison Hosino, it wasn’t the prettiest game by the Knights, but sometimes it doesn’t have to be.
“No it’s not (easy), but we prepared a lot over this week knowing that we’d have a lot of girls missing, and a lot of girls just stepped up to do their part which I feel like was a big part of why we won,” Hosino said.
“It’s really been a difficult thing, but at the end of the day our philosophy is next woman up. Regardless of who’s out, we gotta still play the game,” Smith said.
Present, accounted for and very much a key factor in the Knights’ win, however, was Hosino, who scored 19 points and handed out a few assists as well.
“She’s probably one of our best playmakers. We know she can shoot, we know she can score, but honestly, she gets more joy at trying to set her teammates up for success and that’s what leaders do,” Smith said.
Kate Tueller, the team’s second-leading scorer, added 13 points. Tueller and Hosino both went 3 of 4 from the foul line in the fourth quarter (NHS still went 10 for 21 from the line as a team).
Both teams were pretty good at manufacturing good shots early on, they just didn’t make many, whether it was from the field or the foul line.
“I like the way we played defense the majority of the game. Especially the first half, we played really good defense,” Smith said.
That kept both teams from taking any lead greater than 2-3 points until late in the second quarter when the Knights strung three scoring possessions together for a quick 9-0 run and a 20-12 lead at halftime.
Bonneville (4-10, 0-1 Region 5) fell behind by as many as nine points (24-15) in the third before Libby Jensen made a deep 3-pointer on the wing.
The Lakers eventually closed to within 24-23 in the third, then Hosino drained a 3 for Northridge (7-5, 1-0) the next trip down the floor to put the Knights up 27-23 going to the fourth quarter.
Northridge got the lead up to nine points at two separate points in the fourth, but the Lakers came back each time to prevent the game from getting away.
After sitting the whole third quarter with four first-half fouls, Bonneville forward and leading scorer Courtnie Porter came back in with seven quick points — she finished the game with those seven — to help the Lakers at least keep pace.
“We tried to just go straight at her from the beginning and obviously got her into foul trouble,” Hosino said.
Jensen was another bright spot for Bonneville in the second half, but picked up her fourth and fifth fouls in quick succession late in the fourth quarter and exited with a team-high nine points.
Meanwhile, Hosino kept making whatever play was necessary to keep the Knights in the driver’s seat, whether it was a 3-pointer, a pass over the defense to a wide-open Tueller, or a full-court pass to find Hali’a Mislang-Darden for an open layup at the other end.
That double-digit lead Northridge flirted with all night finally came to fruition late in the fourth when Hosino and Tueller knocked down 6 of 8 free-throw attempts to close the door on Bonneville.