Hancock rallies past West Iron County 42-41

Daver Karnosky/Daily Mining Gazette Hancock's Maija Sebbas looks for an open teammate while being defended by West Iron County's Katarina Serbentas during the first quarter of a game Monday at Hancock Gym.

HANCOCK — In sports, sometimes how you finish is more important than how you start. For Jack Johnson’s Hancock Bulldogs girls basketball team, their 14-point fourth quarter was enough to squeeze out a 42-41 victory from the clutches of the visiting West Iron County Wykons Monday night at the Hancock Gym.

More impressive than the fact that the Bulldogs fought back from a second-quarter deficit of nine points and a third-quarter deficit of 10 points, was that 41 of their 42 points came from the Sebbas sisters, Maija and Taylor, a senior and a freshman, respectively.

Taylor came up with the winning layup as part of a 15-point night.

“I think Taylor did a really nice job for us tonight,” said Johnson. “Taylor has intangibles that don’t show up on paper. She gets second-chance rebounds, she tips the ball out for other people to get offensive rebounds. She sets up our offense by doing the little things.”

After Maija Sebbas — who finished with a game-high 26 points — downed a layup to even the game at 39-39 and drew a foul on the play, she made the free throw to give the Bulldogs (9-7, 1-5) their first lead of the night with just 38.6 seconds left.

Eleven seconds after that, the Wykons’ Emmy Kinner regained the lead by driving down the right side of the lane and hitting a layup.

The Bulldogs drove back down the floor and freshman D’Andra Kero drove to the hoop, but she missed her layup attempt. As the ball bounced off the backboard, the crowd gave a collective sigh as the ball was clearly heading away from the net. That was when Taylor Sebbas, showing patience and poise beyond her age, rushed to the rebound and quickly converted it into a layup off the glass with 8 seconds left.

It was the type of play that Taylor Sebbas had been practicing throughout the season.

“She’s been repping that move night in and night out at practice,” said Johnson. “She finally cashed it in tonight.”

Colbi Laturi lifted the Wykons (4-12, 1-5) to a six-point advantage after the first quarter thanks to a 3-pointer from the top of the key just 3:31 into the game and then three layups over the next four minutes.

During the first three minutes of the second quarter, the Wykons had the lone basket after a jumper from Eden Golliher 20 seconds in. After that, they struggled with rushed possessions, something that has plagued coach Mike Dallavalle’s team all season.

“It’s something that we have been trying to figure out because it has been happening every game,” said Dallavalle. “At least once, we go through a stretch of that. Part of it is trying to figure out the mentality we go through at that point.”

After Kero made one of her two free throws at the three-minute mark, the Wykons used a layup from Rachael Tefft and a pair of free throws from Golliher to push their advantage to 20-11. That was when things went south for the second time for the Wykons as the Bulldogs made five of their next six free throws to pull within four at the half.

Maija Sebbas cut the lead to two with a layup just 16 seconds into the second half and suddenly, the Bulldogs were playing with some confidence. Then the next several Hancock possessions ended in turnovers and missed shots while the Wykons found their offense again.

Katarina Serbentas hit a jumper from the right side to push the lead back to 22-18. Riley Stine followed that basket up with a layup before Kinner picked up one of her own. Golliher added a pair of free throws and suddenly the Wykons were up 28-18.

In the final 3:14 of the third quarter, Maija Sebbas hit a 3-pointer from the left corner and another later on from the top of the key to help the Bulldogs pull even at 28 heading into the final quarter.

“We had some stretches there where after we kind of got away from what we were doing offensively,” said Dallavalle. “[We] took some shots we didn’t need to take.”

In the fourth quarter, the Bulldogs fell behind 37-32 with 3:52 left in the contest, but Maija Sebbas led the charge back by hitting all but one of her free throws before hitting the one that gave Hancock its first lead of the night.

Next, hosts L’Anse on Thursday.

West Iron  14  6  8  13 – 41

Hancock  8  8  12  14 – 42

WIC: Laturi 13, Kinner 11, Golliher 8, Serbentas 7, Tefft 2; Fouls: 14; Fouled out: none; 3-point field goals: Serbentas 1, Laturi 1

HCH: M. Sebbas 26, T. Sebbas 15, Kero 1; Fouls: 12; Fouled out: none; 3-point field goals: M. Sebbas 2