Junior Allie Dewire is aver­aging 12.2 points per game this season. (Photo: Matt Kendrick | Col­legian)

The Hillsdale College Chargers split a two-game road trip last week, falling to Walsh Uni­versity on Thursday, 68 – 60, and defeating Malone Uni­versity two days later, 66 – 62.

Both Walsh and Malone are located in Canton, Ohio, so the team stayed in the area during the off day in between games.

The Chargers got off to a rough start against Walsh, falling behind 9 – 0 before head coach Matt Fritsche called a timeout to regroup. Hillsdale even­tually got on the score­board midway through the first quarter.

“We were dis­ap­pointed to lose; it wasn’t an effort or focus issue,” Fritsche said. “On the road, things have to go well, and they didn’t. We played really hard and they made some good plays. It was just one of those deals.”

The Chargers turned the ball over 20 times. Fritsche said although the team had troubles with turnovers early in the season, he isn’t con­cerned about that issue resur­facing in the season’s final month.

“Our turnovers were a little bit unchar­ac­ter­istic,” Fritsche said. “We were trying to make plays because we were down. We made some late mis­takes when we were trying to do every­thing we could to get back in the game. It doesn’t concern me moving forward.”

Junior guard Allie Dewire played her best game of the season, scoring 19 points and hauling in 12 rebounds. Twelve boards is no insignif­icant sta­tistic to Dewire, who is listed at 5’6” tall but jokes with her team­mates that she’s really 5’7”.

“Most people don’t expect a guard to come in and rebound,” Dewire said. “When other people are boxing their girls out it gives me an open lane. That’s a group effort right there.”

Along with her double-double, Dewire dished out five assists and recorded three steals. In the victory against Malone, she tallied 15 points, six rebounds, and four assists.

“She’s a really hard kid to guard,” Fritsche said. “Her focus has been great all year. She’s starting to under­stand more of what we want on offense.”

Dewire leads the team with 68 assists this season.

“You want to get the ball moving. It’s a dual effort,” Dewire said. “When I start con­tributing and the other team gets worried about me scoring, I can kick it out to my team­mates. They do the hard work. I just give them the ball.”

Senior center Allie Dittmer added 14 points and eight rebounds in the loss while junior forward Makenna Ott scored 10 points and col­lected five boards.

The Chargers got off to a better start on Sat­urday against Malone, and outscored the Pio­neers 15 – 7 in the third quarter to build a 12 point lead heading into the final quarter. The Pio­neers gave Hillsdale their best shot in the fourth quarter and tied the game at 62 with less than a minute left, but senior guard Maddy Reed’s layup and free throw in the final minute sealed the deal, and the Chargers escaped with a narrow victory.

Dittmer led the way with 21 points and eight rebounds, and Ott added 15 points, nine rebounds, and four assists.

“Our offensive game was a lot better,” Dittmer said. “We moved the ball a lot more; it wasn’t as stagnant. We made a lot more shots so we were able to get ahead.”

Dittmer is aver­aging 13.6 points per game this season, second on the team to Ott, who averages 14.8 points per game.

Junior forward Brittany Gray returned to the floor after missing the pre­vious two weeks because of an ankle sprain. She came off the bench to play 15 minutes against Malone, and Fritsche said she should be ready to return to the starting lineup this week.

The Chargers return to Dawn Tib­betts Potter Arena this Thursday for a 6 p.m. tip-off against Ursuline College, whom they beat 84 – 68 in early January. Hillsdale is 6 – 2 at home this season.

“We know we are capable of beating them,” Dittmer said. “We want to do it again because they’re still at the top of the league.”

The team then has two oppor­tu­nities for revenge, as they host Lake Erie College on Sat­urday and hit the road to play Ohio Dominican Uni­versity on Tuesday. The Chargers lost to both teams earlier this season. Ohio Dominican has already clinched a place in the G-MAC Tour­nament.

The Chargers cur­rently sit in sixth place in the con­ference and have five games in total remaining on their schedule. They need only one more victory to clinch a tour­nament berth.

“We’re not even talking about it,” Fritsche said, referring to their potential place in the tour­nament. “We want to finish as high as we can. We’re focused on winning every game that gets put in front of us. Our whole focus is just to improve every day.”

Improving every day means winning out in Dewire’s mind.

“We’re def­i­nitely not set­tling for one win. Not even four wins. We’re going to go for all five,” Dewire said. “If we finish strong, it’ll be a good entry into the tour­nament.”