Down by three at the half, Heartland Christian outscored Whiting 30-10 in the second half to win 53-36. The Eagles improved to 5-4 overall on the season and 3-0 in the Frontier Conference.
“Tale of two halves,” Heartland Christian coach John Stile said. “The first half we weren’t hustling. We weren’t going after the ball and we weren’t rebounding. Second half, that completely changed.
“The one play where Bella (Dingus) was crawling on the floor to get to the ball, and she flips it up to Morgan (Beckner), that kind of epitomizes that. Every one of them hustled.”
Heartland Christian junior Sarah Stile led the offense with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Shelana Cochran joined the double-double club with 10 points and 13 rebounds. Dingus finished with 14 points and nine rebounds.
“Sarah had one of her better games; she had a breakout game with her first two 3-pointers this year,” Stile said. “All of the girls just played as a team; that made it fun there in that second half.”
After a back-and-forth first half which saw H.C. lead 13-12 after one quarter and Whiting lead 26-23 at the half, the difference in the second half was simple.
“We started hustling after the basketball and we started running an offense, and then we went man-to-man,” Stile said. “Whiting just didn’t have an answer for that one, and it kind of got us playing a little more up-tempo.”
The Eagles are a perfect 3-0 in conference play with a victory over Parkview Christian and two over Whiting.
“We’re in great shape in the conference, and the girls are getting better at each game,” Stile said. “I’m very happy with where we’re at right now. The team to beat is Brownell-Talbot. We’ve got a tough one on Tuesday against Omaha Christian, so we’re looking forward to that. Our goal all year is to get to 10 or more wins, and we’d like to win a regional (game).”
If the Eagles keep getting major production from four different players, 10 wins is definitely achievable. H.C. almost had three players record double-doubles in Dingus, Stile and Cochran. Savannah Horan also chipped in with seven points and four rebounds.
“Savannah had the best game I’ve ever seen from her,” Stile said. “You could tell in the second half she was playing with confidence. It was phenomenal to see, I’m very proud of her.
“Shelana owned the boards in the second half. She just hustles, one of my seniors and probably one of the best rebounders I’ve ever seen.”
Up next for Heartland Christian are road trips to Omaha Christian Jan. 7 and Griswold Jan. 13.
H-C (4-4) 13 10 15 15—53
Whiting (2-7) 12 14 5 5—36
HC: Sarah Stile 18, Bella Dingus 14, Shelana Cochran 10, Savannah Horan 7, Morgan Beckner 4
W: Cadence Morton 12, Halle Murray 10, Trinity McClure 4, Jenna Shuck 3, Lauryn Teel 2, Kinzie Theeler 3, Kirsten Myers 2