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Allie Dewire brings the ball up the court during a game against Findlay on Feb­ruary 9. (S. Nathaniel Grime | Col­legian)

The Hillsdale College Chargers began their season with four con­sec­utive losses. They turned it around in the next month and a half, winning eight of their next 11. Then, they again dropped four straight. Since then, however, they’ve won a season-high five con­sec­utive games.

Their current winning streak con­tinued last week thanks to a pair of road wins. On Thursday, Hillsdale overcame a stagnant start to defeat the Ursuline College Arrows, 81 – 69. Two days later, the Chargers beat the Lake Erie Storm 64 – 43 in their best defensive effort of the season.

Head coach Matt Fritsche said he’s been pleased with his team’s movement toward more con­sis­tency as the year has pro­gressed.

“I would use the word streaky early in the season,” Fritsche said. “Offense is always going to be a little streaky. There’s just going to be days. But defen­sively, our kids have matured a ton.”

Hillsdale has won its last five games by an average of 15.6 points, and has held its oppo­nents below 70 points in four con­sec­utive games.

On Thursday, the Chargers and Arrows played a close first half and entered halftime with the score tied at 33. But Hillsdale shot 54.2 percent from the floor in the final two quarters and led during the last 16 minutes of reg­u­lation.

Senior forward Brittany Gray led the Chargers with 22 points, and recorded a double-double by adding 10 rebounds. She also made a team-high four three-pointers.

“We saw the openings and saw more passes. Shots were falling because we had really good chem­istry throughout,” Gray said. “The ball was moving, and we weren’t really stagnant even when we weren’t scoring.”

Senior forward Makenna Ott also notched a double-double for the second con­sec­utive game by scoring 21 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. She sunk three three-pointers, and said Ursuline’s defensive ten­dency was to crowd the lane, opening up oppor­tu­nities for quality shots beyond the arc.

“Espe­cially toward the second half we were scoring at an effi­cient rate, and also our offense was really good as it has been,” Ott said. “More outside shots from the three range. Our whole team, they kind of let us shoot more of those.”

Senior guard Allie Dewire led the team with seven assists and also added 16 points. Fritsche said he’s been impressed with the con­tri­bu­tions from Gray, Ott, and Dewire in their senior seasons, espe­cially down the stretch.

“We’re lucky right now. We’ve got three seniors that are really leading with effort and com­mu­ni­cation and scout prepa­ration,” Fritsche said. “Those three have been dynamite toward the end of the year.”

On Sat­urday, both Hillsdale and Lake Erie shot under 35 percent from the floor, but the Storm made only 14 field goals, whereas the Chargers got enough offensive pro­duction to even­tually win handily.

“We def­i­nitely took a lot of shots. We missed a lot of those, but we just did a good job on the offensive glass and getting put­backs,” Gray said. “Even­tually, they started to fall. I just think we had a lot of great looks in that game, and that was the dif­ference.”

Lake Erie led by one at halftime, but the Chargers held the Storm to just five points in the third quarter, and 11 in the fourth quarter.

“Our kids’ will­ingness to stay the course and believe in each other was huge,” Fritsche said. “In the second half, we really sep­a­rated. That’s an indi­cator of mat­u­ration.”

The Storm shot just 26.9 from the floor all game. Gray said the team’s prepa­ration on scout defense paid off in a big way.

“We made them take the shots we wanted them to take,” Gray said. “They didn’t get any easy looks from us, and that really makes a dif­ference.”

Dewire recorded a double-double, leading Hillsdale with 16 points and 10 rebounds. The Chargers forced 19 turnovers, trans­lating to 24 points, whereas Lake Erie scored only five points off of turnovers.

Despite scoring just 26 points in the first two quarters, Fritsche said he wasn’t dis­pleased with his team’s offensive approach.

“We got every shot we wanted in the first half and we just didn’t make them,”  Fritsche said. “But we didn’t get down about not scoring. Our kids stayed encouraged.”

Gray made three three-pointers and scored 11 points, and freshman guards Lauren Daf­fenberg and Grace Touchette scored 11 and 10 points off the bench, respec­tively. Ott scored nine points and grabbed a team-high 11 rebounds.

The Chargers’ two wins on the road are just their third and fourth of the season away from home, putting their road record at 4 – 5.

Hillsdale’s next two games are its final road con­tests of the regular season. Tonight at 5:30 p.m., the Chargers take on Ohio Valley Uni­versity, a team that has lost 58 con­sec­utive games dating back to 2017. The Chargers beat Ohio Valley at home on Jan. 10, 78 – 61.

On Sat­urday, Hillsdale travels to Ohio Dominican Uni­versity for a 1 p.m. tip-off. The Chargers lost to Ohio Dominican at home on Jan. 12, 76 – 65.

The Chargers remain in fifth place in the G-MAC standings, behind four teams that have already clinched posi­tions in March’s G-MAC tour­nament. The top eight teams in the regular season standings earn spots in the tour­nament.

 

  • Alexan­derYp­si­lantis

    The Charger Ladies are really playing well right now, despite the missed shots in the Lake Erie game. We’re a bal­anced team-with the pos­sible exception of the post and that’s a work in process with Wacker, Chikwe and Lomanaco. At center we have the numbers if not the power-yet.

    But the rest of our game is solid and pol­ished. We need to win out and grab a good seed for the playoffs. I think we can do it.

    I can’t make many games in person, but I watch all the games on the video feed. When the ladies beat Ohio Valley tonight, they can rest assured ole Alexander Ypsi­lantis will be watching from afar!