Girls basketball: Hess prolific from the line as Northridge tops Weber
LAYTON — Northridge High senior guard Kaylee Hess grew up playing basketball with her siblings, continued through Sunset Junior High and has been a starter for the Knights since her freshman year.
She worked on free-throw shooting throughout that time, not knowing it was in preparation for what happened Wednesday night against Weber.
Hess made 16 of 17 charity tosses on the way to 23 points for the game, leading the Knights to a 50-41, non-region victory over the Warriors in the Burchell Basketball Classic.
“I’ve been playing my whole life, including an AAU team,” Hess said. “Free throws is something I’ve worked on growing up. Every single day, getting those free throws in; about 50 a day.”
The Warriors led 21-20 at the half, then Northridge won the third quarter 17-15 when Hess and Mae Stevenson scored 15 of their 17 points.
Weber (1-4) had closed to within 35-34 late in the third quarter on a three-point play by Sunee Shaw before Hess went on a roll.
“It wasn’t a plan, we just wanted to exploit them with our defense and it came down to hustling and who was going to put the ball in the hoop,” Hess said.
Two Hess free throws with 44.5 seconds left gave Northridge (2-1) a little breathing room, then Hess scored five more from the line to open the fourth quarter and made nine overall in the period.
“I had it in my head tonight that it really is a mind game; you gotta put those free throws in when it counts,” Hess said. “My dad made me shoot them at first, then eventually it turned into my love of the game. I choose to do that. I want to be the best player out there.”
Hess showed her versatility, converting from the line after a big game from outside earlier in the Burchell tournament.
“Last game I had four 3s. Shooting is really my game, but I was trying to drive in there (today) and draw fouls,” Hess said. “They ran a zone on us so I didn’t get a lot of chances to shoot outside so I decided to drive in and the refs were calling the fouls.”
Stevenson also had double digits for the Knights, finishing with 12 points.
For Weber, Abby Sayer led the way with 11 points and Rylee Jugler checked in with eight.
“As far as the tournament goes, we’re hoping we can get four wins out of it,” Hess said.