ASHLAND, Wis. - The shorthanded Hurley Midgettes trailed most of the game, but they fought back for a 44-42 victory over non-conference rival Ashland Saturday afternoon.
Hurley was without Gabby Pecotte and Natalie Moon, who were both injured in Friday's win over Ironwood. The Midgettes led 2-0 Saturday, then trailed until Kirkie Pecotte hit the game-winning free throw with three seconds left in the game. Ashland built a six-point lead in every quarter, but it never was able to build it past nine points (29-20 early in the second half).
Makayla Wolfe led Hurley with 14 points. Maria Swartz scored 10 points, taking advantage of her extra minutes inside without Moon or Pecotte available.
"It was an opportunity for some of our players off the bench to step up and Maria Swartz, man, she came in off that bench ready to play," Hurley coach Melissa Oja said. "For being a sophomore; it's her first year off JV. She really, really did well. She was a big factor for us."
Ashland seemed to thwart Hurley's fourth-quarter rally.
Swartz's basket pulled Hurley within 35-34, but Ashland buried a 3 and two free throws to pull ahead 40-34 with 2:57 to go. Ashland was playing without leading rebounder Nicole Huber, who fouled out with 5:18 to go.
Swartz scored again underneath. She made her first free throw and missed the second. Brittany Czarnecki grabbed the rebound and scored to pull Hurley within 40-39.
The Oredockers' Sophie Habas hit two pair throws to put Ashland up by three with 1:42 to go.
Wolfe, who was strong driving to the basket all game, scored to pull Hurley within 42-41.
Ashland missed, Subert grabbed the rebound. Her layup was blocked, but Hurley forced a jump ball and got the ball back.
Subert grabbed a rebound on her own miss and got to the foul line, making the second to tie the game at 42 with 39.5 seconds left.
Subert picked up a steal from behind as Ashland went to set up the offense.
"She provided that spark as well for us," Oja said. "Her and Maria at the end were very key. Kayla creates that chaos at the top."
Hurley purposely wasted about 20 seconds before Kirkie Pecotte drove the lane and was fouled. She missed the first but made the second for a 43-42 lead.
Missing the first made for a stressful second attempt.
"It's pretty hard; there's a lot of pressure, but it went in," Pecotte said. "We played a really good team game and we really picked it up in the second half."
Oja wanted Hurley to take the last shot as late as possible.
"I told them you've got to waste that time and then set up the play," Oja said.
The Ashland inbounder stepped over the out of bounds line and Hurley got the ball back. Subert made the first and missed the second. Czarnecki grabbed the rebound and the clock ran out.
Ashland missed Huber, who had a team-high eight rebounds.
"Nicole is definitely our best rebounder," Ashland coach Brett Gunderson said. "Not having her the whole fourth quarter pretty much. And she's probably one of our better defenders. When Hurley was penetrating in the lane and doing some of that dribble drive stuff, Nicole's usually that one that can step up and put a hand up."
Hurley shot 16 of 43 (37 percent) and outrebounded Ashland 47-29. Pecotte led Hurley with 11 boards.
Gunderson lamented giving Hurley all those extra chances.
"They're definitely a good enough team, if you give them two or three looks, they're going to eventually put one in or get to the free throw line," he said. "They did a good job of only allowing us one shot."
Pecotte said it was tough playing shorthanded, but "we really carried through. We've been playing really well as a team lately and we're really starting to get it together now."
Alison Huber paced Ashland with 15 points. Sophie Habas had 11.
Hurley (4-2, 3-1) hosts the Indianhead Conference East Division's only remaining unbeaten team, Mercer (3-0), tonight at 5:45 p.m.
Hurley - Beka Harrington 4, Brittany Czarnecki 4, Kayla Subert 5, Tianne Kuula 2, Makayla Wolfe 14, Maria Swartz 10, Kirkie Pecotte 5. FTs: 12-23. Fouls: 11. Fouled out: None. 3-pointers: None.
Ashland - Sophie Habas 11, Alison Huber 15, Lucia Agostine 8, Nicole Huber 8. FTs: 7-9. Fouled out: N. Huber. 3-pointers: A. Huber 3, Habas 2.
Hurley 7 18 30 44
Ashland 14 23 35 42