Loss spoils night for new career scoring co-leader
Higgins claims piece of Hilltoppers’ career scoring record at 1,232 points
Wednesday, January 18, 2017 3:03 PM
Claire Higgins added her name to the top of the Shawe record book but it proved to be a bittersweet milestone as her Lady Hilltoppers lost 44-35 to Trinity Lutheran at home in girls basketball on Tuesday.
Claire Higgins joined Ebony Inskeep atop Shawe Memorial’s career scoring list by scoring 13 points on Tuesday to finish the game tied with Inskeep at 1,232 points. Higgins’ record-tying basket was a layup in transition, a play the senior has feasted on her entire career. But it was a bittersweet night for Higgins, whose Hilltoppers lost 44-35 to Trinity Lutheran. (Staff photo by David Campbell)
Higgins, a senior, scored 13 points to tie Ebony Inskeep for the most points in school history at 1,232. But she fouled out late before getting the crucial point to put her over the top and then had to watch in agony from the bench as her team suffered its second-straight loss.
Afterwards, Higgins accepted congratulations from friends and family and, although she was down about the loss, she said she could still appreciate the record.
“It’s kinda surreal. I had a little run there where I wasn’t scoring much and I didn’t think I would get it,” Higgins said. “It’s just shocking to me that I did get it.
“(Coach) Camille (Leach) kept telling me to calm down, but how could I,” she asked with a laugh.
Higgins admitted that she was nervous all day and her teammates appeared to be nervous as well come game time.
Shawe, which saw a four-game win streak halted on Saturday, played one of its worst offensive games of the season. The Hilltoppers hit just nine of the 52 shots they took for an ice-cold 17 percent but were 4-of-7 on 3-pointers meaning that most of the shots that missed came near the basket.
Still, the Hilltoppers (11-10) were in the game. They were tied at 6-6 after one quarter and trailed only 21-15 at halftime. After falling behind by nine midway through the third, Shawe rallied to take the lead in the fourth.
“I thought our defense was pretty solid all game. Our rebounding was better than usual, it was just a lack of focus and a lack of concentration on offense that got us,” Shawe coach Camille Leach said. “If you’re not going to take shooting drills seriously in practice it’s going to show up in the game as it has the past two games.”
Many of Shawe’s offensive issues seemed to stem from teammates trying to do do a little too much to set up their leader for a basket. Higgins, meanwhile, did much of the same thing, trying to find open shooters for good looks rather than taking the easy shots herself.
The result was a hodge-podge on offense that saw the Hilltoppers somewhat unsure of themselves when they got into an offensive set with nobody comfortable taking the shot.
“Sometimes they were (pressing) and a few times Claire had a chance to get the record for herself but then she skip passes to a 3-point shooter across the way,” Leach said. “That’s just a tribute to the kind of player that Claire is. She’s always looking for that open man rather than her own shot. She’s just an unselfish player.”
It was a Higgins assist that gave Shawe its first lead since early in the game when she found an open Megg Hensler for a 3-pointer and a 32-31 lead with 5:52 to go in the game. Trinity (9-13) got the lead right back on the next possession when Savannah Harweger connected on a three-point play.
A missed shot by Trinity on its next possession triggered Higgins’ game-tying basket. She gathered the rebound in along the baseline then went coast-to-coast, attacking the basket from the right side for a layup with 4:31 to play to knot the game at 34-34 and tie Inskeep atop the record board. It was classic Higgins, who has made a career of scoring in transition and punishing defenses for not getting back quickly enough.
While Higgins was tied with Inskeep, she was never able to get the go-ahead point. She missed an open layup on the next trip down the floor and never got another good chance to score. Trinity, meanwhile, began to pull away thanks to free throws, hitting 5-of-6 over the final 1:12 of the contest.
Higgins picked up her fifth foul with 35 seconds to go and exited with a game-high 13 points. She was upset as she left the floor, but not because she didn’t get that extra point.
“She was upset we lost,” Leach said. “She missed that layup that would have given her the record and she was upset, but all she could think about is how we were losing. She wanted to win.”
Hensler, who was held to one point in the first half, hit three 3-pointers in the second and scored 10 points. But the Hilltoppers, ravaged with injury, ended up playing all five starters the whole way and it wasn’t until Higgins fouled out late that Leach went to her bench.
Morgan Gabbard and Abby Hackman scored 10 points each to lead Trinity Lutheran.
The Hilltoppers return to action on Thursday when they travel to Rock Creek, the same team they will open the Class A Sectional against in two weeks. While Leach is excited for Higgins to get the record on her own, the coach also knows that her team needs to get better if they are going to make some noise in February.
“The defense is fine and if somebody zones us we can tear it apart,” Leach said. “But we need to work on our man-to-man offense. That’s what has hurt us the past two games. We worked on it a little yesterday and it showed today, we were better today, but we still need to get better.”
TUESDAY’S GIRLS GAME
TRINITY LUTHERAN 44, SHAWE 35
TRINITY 6 15 9 14 — 44
SHAWE 6 9 12 8 — 35
TRINITY (9-13) — (f)Gabbard 10, (f)Hackman 10, (g)Acton 8, Harweger 8, (g)Rogers 4, (g)Goedecker 2, Bell 2, Setty 0.
SHAWE (11-10) — (g)Higgins 13, (g)Hensler 10, (g)Grote 6, (f)Hesse 4, (f)McAllister 2, K. May 0.
3-Point Goals — Trinity 1 (Gabbard 1), Shawe 4 (Hensler 3, Grote 1). Total Fouls — Trinity 11, Shawe 17. Free Throws — Trinity 13-18, Shawe 13-20. Fouled Out — Shawe: Higgins.