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Hardcastle dazzles as ADM girls basketball topples Carlisle on senior night

Andrew Brown
Dallas County News

On a night to honor their seniors, the ADM girls basketball team did so in the best way possible, with a 57-45 victory over Carlisle on Tuesday, Jan. 5. 

Within the confines of ADM High School, the Tigers captured their fourth straight win over the Wildcats and five out of the past six. Aside from the early seconds of the very first quarter, ADM enjoyed a lead all game long as they snapped a six-game losing skid in front of their hometown fans. 

"First off it's always special when you can recognize all the hard work and dedication brought by the seniors," began head coach Jacob Cleveland. "It was even better that we could get a win on senior night. We shot and moved the ball well offensively and I thought we did a really good job defensively especially in the first half." 

Among the four seniors on the varsity roster for the Tigers, it was fitting to see senior star Grace Hardcastle lead the way, which she did so with flying colors. Accounting for 65 percent of the scoring efforts on the night, Hardcastle made history by setting a new team record for most points scored in a single game with 37. 

"That was the longest game of my life," laughed Hardcastle after the game. "I was just really focused. I've been working hard on my explosion and just being confident. My confidence was really there and I think the difference today was that I just kept shooting." 

Those 37 points overtook former Tiger Abbie Hlas who previously held the mark with 36 points scored just a year prior. The night also marked a career-high for Hardcastle, ironically against the same team she posted her previous career-best against last year in the Wildcats. 

"It's funny, I was joking around with her the other day about breaking the three-point record but it was really exciting to see Grace break the school scoring record," said Cleveland. "She was taking good shots and had a really good rhythm all game. It was really good to see that kind of a night out of her because with getting more of her teammates involved, she hasn't put up the scoring numbers like she did last season." 

Olivia Tollari on defense during the senior night battle on Tuesday, Jan. 5 against Carlisle.

Once again, in fitting fashion, that very record was broken by Hardcastle on the very last shot of the game with under two seconds left on the game clock. 

The Tigers as a whole, like Hardcastle, really took off following a defensive first quarter where ADM held onto a narrow 8-4 lead. From there, it was off to the races for the ADM offense and with the help of a 7-0 run in the second quarter, the Tigers posted 18 points and went into the halftime break with a commanding  26-11 advantage. That second quarter was especially helpful for the Tigers as they shot 50 percent from the floor in that quarter alone.

That then kept up from the Tigers in the second half as they posted 13 points in the third quarter and 18 points in the fourth quarter which helped to hold off a 22 point performance by the visiting Wildcats in that final quarter. Those 22 points marked the most allowed in a fourth quarter of any game so far this season by the Tigers. The offense helped to overcome any dips in defense and ultimately marked a successful change in the offense for the game. 

"In practice, we put in a new offense for zone where it's two posts and a guard which we'll need for Winterset (as well)," said Hardcastle. "We've really worked on reversing it fast and getting shots." 

ADM's Nicole Storck with the difficult shot on Tuesday, Jan. 5 against Carlisle.

Behind the historically impressive offensive performance by Hardcastle, the pair of Olivia Tollari and Nicole Storck were next up for the Tigers. Both posted eight points on the night with six of Tollari's points coming in the first half and all eight of Storck's points arriving in the first half. For Hardcastle, she ended the night with 19 second-half points while beginning her run with 14 first-half points. 

Also helping their cause offensively for ADM was their performance from the free-throw line where they shot 74 percent, marking the fifth game this season connecting on over 70 percent from the charity stripe. 

"These girls practice hard on their free throws each day in practice," said Cleveland. "They have to make 20 each practice and they do. Since I've been here we've improved each year from the free-throw line and they did a great job here tonight." 

The victory for the Tigers officially brings their record to 3-6 on the season. They will be seeking to keep the winning going as they battle Perry on Thursday, Jan. 7 beginning at 6 p.m. The Tigers have taken six out of the last seven and 11 of the last 21 battles against the Bluejays. 

ADM girls head basketball coach Jacob Cleveland looks on as his team battles Carlisle on Tuesday, Jan. 5 during senior night.