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Hollenbeck, Sallach rise to occasion against UCO

Rick Peterson Jr.
Hays Daily News
FHSU's Jessie Sallach puts up a mid-range jumper against Central Oklahoma on Saturday at Gross Memorial Coliseum.

Going up against one of the top players in the conference, Fort Hays State freshmen Olivia Hollenbeck and Jessie Sallach formed a formidable 1-2 punch in the post on Saturday at Gross Memorial Coliseum. 

Hollenbeck and Sallach combined for 30 points in the Tigers' 73-58 win over Central Oklahoma on Saturday at Gross Memorial Coliseum. FHSU moved to 13-3 and notched its eighth straight win to remain in a tie atop the MIAA standings. 

The freshman posts helped hold UCO 6-foot-3 standout Kelsey Gordon to 13 points, six points below her season average.

"You challenge those kids and tell them you're playing against the best post player in the conference: 'Don't back down. Show them respect but not too much and go at em.' I thought they did a good job of that," FHSU coach Tony Hobson said. 

Hollenbeck led the Tigers with 18 points while Sallach added 12 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 blocks. 

"Jessie's just come a long ways," Hobson said. "She's more comfortable now offensively. She's not afraid to shoot it. She's got some real offensive game. She's just kind of gaining confidence and showing it. She's got good hands and she can shoot that little mid-range. 

"I thought Olivia battled really hard today."

Johnson went 4-10 from the field in 22 minutes. 

"Johnson's really good inside and we knew that going in," Sallach said. "We just tried to get in front of her and we knew we had help from the other people on our team on the back side with the lob."

Sallach again utilized a mid-range jumper that Hobson has encouraged her to shoot. 

"I just kind of developed it this year," Sallach said. "My coaches and my teammates have been wanting me to shoot the shot since I've gotten in the game. I just keep on doing that one."

Sallach said it was beneficial to enter the program with another freshman post in Hollenbeck as the two adjusted to college basketball together. 

"We help each other a lot," Sallach said. "I know in practice we're always just encouraging each other and we're really just helping each other with new moves that we're trying to get down and being physical inside."

After a slow start for both teams out of the gate, the Tigers broke away from the Bronchos (9-6) with a dominant 25-8 second quarter to take a 38-21 lead at the break. 

"Our second quarter was just as good as it gets," Hobson said. "Really efficient. We executed in the half court, we got several things in the open floor. Just ran the floor and we had our heads up.

"Everybody was just kind of in sync and our guards were doing a great job of distributing. The second quarter was kind of the story. Otherwise, the quarters were practically even."

Jaden Hobbs scored 11 points and dished out five assists while Whitney Randall scored all 14 of her points in the second half. Freshman Katie Wagner scored eight points and grabbed nine rebounds.  

Tigers' junior forward Cydney Bergmann was limited to eight minutes. Hobson said Bergmann was held out after taking an elbow to the head. The Tigers were set to have a quick turnaround, facing Missouri Western at 5:30 p.m. Monday at home. 

"(Bergmann) didn't feel well to start the game, just some stomach things," Hobson said after Saturday's game. "Then she kind of banged her head, got elbowed. We're not sure what her status will be for Monday. Right now, she's in a little bit of protocol for that head. Just kind of watching that."