The Fort Jennings defense, this time Haley Wittler and Lillian Wisner, defends McComb’s Jenna Herr Saturday afternoon at McComb High School. (DHI Media/Jim Metcalfe)
The Fort Jennings defense, this time Haley Wittler and Lillian Wisner, defends McComb’s Jenna Herr Saturday afternoon at McComb High School. (DHI Media/Jim Metcalfe)

MCCOMB — Fort Jennings girls basketball coach Bill Calvelage has seen a familiar scenario play out in 2016-17: his Lady Musketeers fall behind early and have to battle uphill the rest of the way.

That happened in Saturday afternoon’s non-league clash inside Herb Aldrich Gymnasium at McComb High School against the Lady Panthers.

They trailed by 14 early in the third period and fought back within one midway through the fourth before falling 58-53.

McComb had too much of 1-2 punch Jenna Herr (30 points) and Nora Hemminger (19).

“We knew about those two, how good they were. We lost her too much the first half but did better the second,” Calvelage observed. “Our falling behind early has been a pattern; we just don’t seem to come out with a sense of urgency that you have to have. We might have four of the five girls on the floor that play with it but we need all five all the time. We had that the second half and you could tell in how much better we played.”

The Lady Musketeers (0-11) countered with a double-double from Lillian Wisner (17 points, 11 boards) and 11 from Vanessa Wallenhorst.

The opening period saw one tie and three lead changes. Both teams were using a 3-2 zone defense — which they used almost the entire way — and the biggest lead by either team was five — 8-3 by McComb on a basket by Hemminger halfway through. The visitors battled back to take a lead at 12-11 on a steal and layin by Wisner at 1:05 before McComb retook the lead on a baby hook by Hemminger with :08.0 showing on the clock.

The score remained close for the second period, with Jennings taking its last lead at 18-17 on a 3-pointer from right of the key by Makenna Ricker at 5:03. Herr drove for a deuce at 4:46 which touched off a key stretch for the Panthers — a 13-3 span that gave them a 30-21 halftime lead on a breakaway by Hemminger at 44 seconds.

Herr had 19 at the half.

The Panthers took their largest lead of 35-21 on a Hemminger bomb at the 6-minute mark before Erin Eickholt put the visitors on the board at 5:31 and Wisner came alive with 10 in the period. Fort Jennings did a better job defending Herr and thus, they worked their way back to a 39-35 deficit on a Wittler drive at 2:20 before the Panthers held a 47-39 lead on a pair of free throws by Lauren Grubb at 25 seconds.

The Musketeers kept on coming in the finale and a hoop-and-harm by Madison Neidert at 5:20 moved them within 49-48. However, Herr took a steal near mid-court in for a layup at 4:34, Hannah Schroeder scored inside at 3:45 and Herr scored again for a 55-48 advantage. Jennings once more closed the gap to 55-53 on a Haley Wittler basket and a 3-pointer by Wallenhorst at 2:05 but they could not score again.

The Musketeer junior varsity grabbed a 29-11 victory.

Fort Jennings hosts Elida Tuesday.

VARSITY

FORT JENNINGS (53)

Haley Wittler 4-6 0-0 8, Erin Eickholt 3-10 1-4 7, Vanessa Wallenhorst 3-11 2-4 11, Lillian Wisner 7-11 3-6 17, Makenna Ricker 1-5 0-0 3, Madison Neidert 2-2 1-1 5, Kristen Luersman 1-3 0-0 2, Abby Von Sossan 0-5 0-0 0, Erica Rau 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 21-53 7-15 53.

MCCOMB (58)

Nora Hemminger 5-22 8-13 19, Marah Griffith 0-1 0-0 0, Lauren Gurbb 0-3 2-2 2, Alyssa Herr 0-5 0-0 0, Kadalena Duran 1-5 1-2 3, Tesla Seither 0-0 0-0 0, Maddie Buck 0-0 0-0 0, Shaye Hemminger 0-0 0-0 0, Hannah Schroeder 2-6 0-0 4, Jenna Herr 12-18 4-7 30. Totals 20-57 15-24 58.

Score by Quarters:

Fort Jennings 12 9 18 14 - 53

McComb

Total Field Goal Percentage: Fort Jennings 39.6, McComb 35.1. Free Throw Percentage: Fort Jennings 46.7, McComb 62.5. Three-Point Field Goals/Percentage: Fort Jennings 4-12/33.% (Wallenhorst 3, Ricker), McComb 3-12/25% (J. Herr 2, N. Hemminger). Rebounds: Fort Jennings 39/15 off. (Wisner 11), McComb 40/18 off. (N. Hemminger 12). Assists: Fort Jennings 10 (Luersman 3), McComb 8 (N. Hemminger/Duran 3. Steals: Fort Jennings 13 (Eickholt/Wittler/Wisner/Luersman 2), McComb 13 (N. Hemminger 5. Blocks: Fort Jennings 3 (Wittler 2), McComb 4 (J. Herr 3). Turnovers: Fort Jennings 24, McComb 16. Fouls: Fort Jennings 19, McComb 14.

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JUNIOR VARSITY

FORT JENNINGS (29)

Lexi Hoersten 2-0-4, Erica Crawford 0-0-0, Erica Rau 0-3-3, Madison Neidert 0-2-2, Makenna Ricker 1-2-4, Annabelle Wisner 2-0-5, McKenna Stechschulte 0-0-0, Kristen Luersman 0-0-0, Chloe Wieging 4-1-9, Raylee Clay 0-0-0. Totals 9-1-8/16-29.

MCCOMB (11)

Marah Griffith 1-0-2, Lauren Grubb 0-0-0, Alyssa Herr 0-0-0, Kadalena Duran 0-1-1, Tesla Seither 0-0-0, Maddie Buck 0-0-0, Riley Metzker 0-0-0, Shaye Hemminger 1-6-8, Hannah Schroeder 0-0-0, Vanessa Donaldson 0-0-0, K. Lause 0-0-0. Totals 2-0-7/19-11.

Score by Quarters:

Fort Jennings 12 5 8 4 - 29

McComb 0 6 1 4 - 11

Three-point goals: Fort Jennings, Wisner; McComb, none.