DIXON – A comeback win helped cure what ailed Newman's Jaimie Hurd. Meanwhile, blowing a seven-point lead it took into the fourth quarter was a tough pill to swallow for Dixon.
Hurd came back from illness and the Comets outscored the Duchesses 25-6 in the fourth quarter in their 51-39 victory in both teams' season opener in a Sauk Valley Shootout matchup Monday night at Lancaster Gym.
Trailing 33-26 entering the fourth quarter after scoring just four points in the third quarter, Newman took control.
Aiding the Comets was the fact that three Duchesses fouled out down the stretch. First, Kacie Dillow fouled out with 4:06 remaining. Just 8 seconds later, Brooke Bailey joined Dillow on the bench when she committed her fifth foul.
Bailey and Dillow combined for 21 of Dixon's 39 points, Bailey scoring a team-high 11, and Dillow adding 10.
"It was very frustrating sitting on the bench and watching my team," said Bailey, who was in foul trouble throughout the game. "I'll just have to play smarter the next time."
Newman took advantage, outscoring the Duchesses 17-4 the rest of the way.
"Those girls are really good players, and once they were out we were pumped up," said Hurd, who tied Mary Alice Oswalt for team-high scoring honors with 12 points. Oswalt scored eight points in the fourth quarter.
The Comets opened the fourth quarter with an 8-0 tear. Oswalt hit two field goals to start the burst, which also included a bucket by Hurd and another by Rachel Hageman (11 points, 9 rebounds).
Dixon took its last lead on a pair of free throws by Bailey that made it 35-34 with 4:18 to play.
Leading 38-36, Newman put the game away with a 9-0 blitz. Hageman had a pair of buckets, Kayci Howell three free throws and Sara Nysather sank a high-arcing shot in the flurry.
"If we came come with the intensity we had in the fourth quarter, it's going to be a fun season," said Comets coach Jay Howell, whose team went 0-8 to start last season.
Hurd exited the game in tears near the end of the first quarter.
"I have really bad asthma, but I got sick outside," she said. "They asked if I wanted to go home, but I said, 'No, I'm playing this game.' It was definitely worth it. I feel better now, and we won."
Dixon also got eight points from Kari Wolfe.
"You could see pretty early on that it was going to be a tightly officiated game," Duchesses coach Luke Ravlin said. "I thought Newman adjusted, and we didn't."
Star of the game: Rachel Hageman, Newman, 11 points, 9 rebounds
Key performers: Jaimie Hurd and Mary Alice Oswalt, Newman, 12 points apiece; Brooke Bailey, Dixon, 11 points; Kacie Dillow, Dixon, 10 points
Up next: Sauk Valley Shootout – Rock Falls at Newman, Dixon at Stillman Valley (both 7:30 p.m.)