Surviving a comeback effort by a home team is one of the tougher accomplishments in the sport of basketball. The Chargers passed that test Saturday.
After losing a 10-point lead with less than seven minutes to play, the Chargers survived in a 66-62 win over Malone University in Canton, Ohio, picking up a much-needed Great Midwest Athletic Conference win. Hillsdale is now 13-8 overall and 11-6 in conference play.
Malone's Holly Groff hit a 3-pointer with 52 seconds to go to tie the game up at 62, finishing an 18-8 run that erased what had been a double digit lead for Hillsdale. The run was sudden and unexpected, especially considering the Chargers held the Pioneers to just 7 points in the third quarter, the fewest allowed by Hillsdale in a quarter this season.
With the crowd and momentum on its side, Malone appeared poised to take its first lead of the second half at a critical time. That's when Maddy Reed stepped in.
Hillsdale's senior guard spun in a layup off a nice feed from junior Allie Dewire to give the Chargers a 64-62 lead with 20 seconds to go. Eight seconds later, Reed grabbed the important defensive rebound after a missed shot by the Pioneers, keeping Hillsdale in the lead and with the ball.
Reed would later get a steal on a possession where Malone needed a 3-pointer to tie the game. She would get fouled and make a subsequent free throw, which gave the Chargers a two-possession lead with just five seconds to go.
Stepping up and making big plays in crucial situations is what a coach hopes his seniors do, and that's what Reed did in helping Hillsdale close this one out.
Malone had made three 3-point shots in the game's first three quarters, but drained four as part of a 28-point fourth quarter. But Hillsdale leaded on the traits it's had all season, outrebounding the Pioneers 42-37 and 15-8 on the offensive end.
Another reliable option for the Chargers has been senior center Allie Dittmer. The team went to her frequently in the second half and she stepped up with a game-high 21 points, going 9-for-16 from the floor. She also grabbed 8 rebounds.
Junior Makenna Ott, one of the most consistent players in the G-MAC, once again delivered with 15 points, 9 rebounds and 4 assists in 36 minutes on the court. She scored 11 in the first half. Junior guard Allie Dewire heated up in the second half and had 15 poonts, 6 rebounds and 4 assists.
Reed had 7 points and 7 rebounds.