Haist, Bower prop up Vanguard as last unbeaten in league
In a game where the largest lead was six points and the lead changed only seven times, The Vanguard School’s Bailey Haist and Caitlin Bower fought hard enough in the paint to keep the Coursers undefeated with a 47-41 win over Evangelical Christian Academy on the road.
“We played a little tight,” said Vanguard’s coach Frank Haist. “ECA has had our number for three years or more, so I expected that, and the girls overcame it.”
Bailey Haist, who hit seven 3-pointers on Friday, went 0-for-3 from behind the arc. However, Haist’s hand got hotter as the game went on, finishing with 17 points. Both Bower and Haist drove to the basket, performing acrobatic shots in traffic for Vanguard (16-0, 6-0 2A Black Forest League).
“Tonight, they played man (defense), so I kind of had to create my shots more, so step backs, and a lot of times that’s less accurate,” Bailey Haist said. “So when my outside game wasn’t working, I drove in at the end and really tried to finish inside.”
While Bailey Haist started cold, Bower led the first half in scoring with eight points, shouldering some of the responsibility. Bower finished with 12 points and got most of her baskets by using the fast-tempo offense to score in transition.
ECA leading scorer Abby Dorman did her damage beyond the arc with six of her 10 points coming off 3-pointers. The Eagles (11-4, 4-1) relied on Dorman’s and Sammi Bost’s 3-point shooting to stay in the game. While the team shot 37.5 percent, Dorman and Bost shot 41.6 percent. Tori Mann also stepped up on defense against the larger Vanguard lineup.
“I was really proud of (Bost and Mann),” said Dorman, a senior. “I was proud of all of my girls. I think we really just stepped up. They were aggressive. They played great defense and shooting. I think we just had a great effort as a team.”
In the second half, Dorman looked like a floor general, moving the ball well and encouraging her teammates to keep their heads in the game.
“Abby is our leader,” ECA coach Bruce Beers said. "She’s our best player. I ask her to do a lot. She’s a special lady and a special player.”
Once coach Haist and his Coursers cut off ECA's backdoor cuts and played a more physical style of defense, the Eagles faltered and gave the Coursers breathing room. Cassandra Sulski's confident ball-handling and eight points helped finish off the Eagles.
Vangaurd’s Coursers are now the only team with a perfect record in the league, while the Eagles suffered their first league loss.