February 12, 2009

Sharpening skills for awaited days

Even though the Hazen girls’ basketball team has a perfect record, they are allowed a bad day or two. Head coach Leland Opp is just thankful it happened before the postseason.

Hazen 65, Washburn 62

Hazen has played every kind of team this season but they couldn’t have expected the night they were walking into Friday. A solid Region 5 contender, Washburn didn’t have a very exciting start. The Bison sure did with 22 points in the first eight minutes.

The contest went downhill from there.

Facing serious foul trouble with four starters, Opp was forced to rotate in some younger players early in the second quarter.

"I felt that our kids didn’t really adjust to the officiating," Opp said. "That’s part of the game of basketball."

The game continued to be uncharacteristic for Hazen as they suffered 27 turnovers. The Bison have grown a reputation for causing other teams to miscue but they got a taste of their own medicine against the Cardinals. Hazen also gave up 18 offensive rebounds, something unheard of so far this season.

"We didn’t take care of the ball as well," Opp said. "(Washburn) really crashed the boards hard and we knew that going in."

But then something Bison fans are familiar with seeing came to light the second half. The young Bison bench players subbed in and took over the momentum. After rotating different players throughout the season, Opp has set his roster to 15 girls. And all 15 were needed to keep the Cardinals at bay.

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