STANTON — Just when Class C No. 4 Stanton needed a spark Tuesday against Humphrey/Lindsay Holy Family, they got one from an unlikely source.
Freshman Jaiden Hartl drained a 3-pointer with 2 minutes, 50 seconds left, and her teammates sank 9 of 14 free throws in the final 2 minutes, 37 seconds to sink Humphrey/Lindsay Holy Family 43-35 in East Husker Conference play.
After that 3-pointer, senior MacKenzie Brandl helped the Mustangs finish off the Bulldogs. She hit 10 of 12 from the free-throw line and added a pair of 3-pointers for a game-high 16 points, and the 5-foot-5 senior also had five rebounds, three assists and blocked two shots.
On the opposite end, the undersized Mustangs had to contend with 6-foot-1 sophomore Taya Beller. She finished with four points, but had game-highs with six rebounds and three blocked shots.
Bree Burtwistle found Hartl in the corner for the 3-pointer in front of the Stanton bench. That came less than a minute after Jenna Beller converted a conventional 3-point play which made the Mustangs' lead 31-30 with 3:47 left, moments after a steal and layup by Hartl.
"It got hectic," Brandl said. "To have her step in and hit that 3-pointer to get the momentum back was a good feeling."
MacKenzie Brandl hit both ends of a one-and-one with 2:37 left, and younger sister Jessie followed suit 38 seconds later, both coming after H/LHF turnovers. Morgan Frauendorfer answered with a 3-pointer from the top of the key to make it 38-33 with 1:48 left, but the Bulldogs would be held scoreless until a Frauendorfer jumper with 9.2 seconds left.
In between, Stanton's ability to force fouls and hit free throws took over. Hannah Heppner and MacKenzie Brandl combined for three free throws in the next 1:07 for just enough insurance, and then MacKenzie Brandl added two with 6.3 seconds left for the final margin.
The free-throw disparity was a difference.
H/LHF attempted eight, making four, while Stanton connected on 17 of 25. That helped the Mustangs overcome 27.5 percent (11 of 40) field-goal shooting. The Bulldogs were 31.8 percent (14 of 44) from the floor.
To start the fourth quarter, it was Stanton which went cold. They were held scoreless for 4:10, and managed two fourth-quarter points until Hartl's 3-pointer. In that time, Jenna Beller had all six of her points in helping the Bulldogs pull to within one.
Humphrey/LHF...........9 5 8 13 - 35
Stanton..................12 5 12 14 - 43
HUMPHREY/LINDSAY HOLY FAMILY (4-2): Brooke Johnson 0-3 0-0 0; Brittney Veik 4-7 0-0 10; Morgan Frauendorfer 3-15 1-2 8; Jenna Beller 2-4 2-4 6; Molly Dohmen 0-1 0-0 0; Taya Beller 2-8 1-2 5; Kaydie Brandl 0-1 0-0 0; Anita Reardon 3-5 0-0 6. Totals 14-44 4-8 35.
STANTON (4-1): MacKenzie Brandl 2-8 10-12 16; Jaiden Hartl 2-6 0-1 5; Bree Burtwistle 3-9 2-2 8; Jessie Brandl 1-5 3-4 6; Ashley Colwell 0-1 0-0 0; Hannah Heppner 3-9 2-6 8; Kiley Wiedeman 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 11-40 17-25 43.