Thompson gets a spark from Hurst to move past Hatton/Northwood and return to Region 2 final
In the 60-43 win, Hurst tallied nine points in the first half, all from beyond the arc.
GRAND FORKS – Freshman contributors have led Thompson all year long and on Tuesday it was Kya Hurst providing a spark for the Tommies as they made their way to the Region 2 final following a 60-43 win over Hatton/Northwood.
Hurst was hauling in rebounds and bringing an aggression to the game that would see her jump-start the offense.
“Our freshmen are big for us this year. We don’t really think of them as freshman because they were with us last year and they have been to state before. They understand the bright lights and that you need to bring your ‘A’ game here or else you may be knocked off at any point,” Thompson head coach Jason Brend said.
Jumping out to a lead early in the first quarter, Hurst gave her squad their first two-possession lead when she hit the first 3-pointer of the game to make it 9-5. Then early in the second quarter, she sank two more from range, bumping the Tommies lead to 24-12, all while working the boards.
“Kya in the first half definitely kept us running and kept us clicking because she works so dang hard. Rebounding basically comes down to working hard and she puts herself in a position where she gets a lot of them for us and gives us new opportunities to score,” said Brend.
After setting a precedent from range, Brenna Martin was able to make some plays in the paint. She added eight points in the half and helped give Thompson a 31-17 lead heading into the locker room.
It felt especially good for Hurst, who was well aware of the stage before heading into the tournament again.
“This is a crazy atmosphere and growing up watching tournaments here. I wouldn’t describe it as overwhelming, but it feels good to be here,” she said.
She would add four more points via free throws in the second half for a total of 13. Fellow freshman Addison Sage came into the tournament leading the squad in scoring average (12.3), but just behind her was Hurst (11.4).
Hurst is also in the top three in steals per game (2.6), rebounds (6.6) and assists (2.5).
“We are contributors to this team and we help get that spark going. Defensively and offensively,” said Hurst.
Sage added five in Tuesday’s win, but all year long the two freshmen have shown their development that started well beyond their eighth-grade years together.
“Kya and I have played together since we were children, so we’ve kind of grown up knowing what each other are good at. We put that into the varsity team and it contributes well. We all fit together,” said Sage.
In the third quarter, offenses on both sides kicked it up a notch. Senior Olivia Dick and junior Sydney Schwabe got things started with back-to-back baskets and combined for 11 points through eight minutes.
Keeping Trista Bilden at bay became a challenge for the Tommies as the Thunder forward gained confidence inside as the half went on. She finished as Hatton-Northwood’s leading scorer with 14.
“There were some possessions where we could have stretched a little bit. We went for the jugular a little bit with some big shots, but I thought once we got some good movement we shifted their defense,” said Brend.
Now moving on to the regional final, the Tommies will look to bring things back to the hard work that has gotten them this far.
The benefits reaped from that hard work are two pillars that Brend and staff have been preaching all year: rebounds and free throws.
“Those are two things that coming out of these last two games, we definitely have a little bit of work ahead of us. It’s definitely something that the kids understand as well. They're gonna put on the hard hats, grab the lunch buckets and show up tomorrow read to work,” he said.
TT- 14 17 21 8 60
HN- 7 11 16 9 43
Thompson – Olivia Dick 16, Sydney Schwabe 11, Addison Sage 5, Clara Stevens 3, Kya Hurst 13, Brenna Martin 12
Hatton/Northwood – Makenna Gader 7, Amara Howson 7, Elizabeth Pinke 3, Estella Sehrt 7, Kennison Azure 5, Trista Bilden 14