KATHLEEN -- In its basketball living room on a nice Saturday afternoon, Veterans was anything but in a comfort zone.
The Warhawks missed open shots, close shots and transition shots. And not just barely, balls hanging on the rim and falling out. There were plenty of shots that touched no iron. Free throws were no better.
And they will keep playing anyhow.
The Warhawks were anything but hot from the floor but made up for it by being clutch and finally hitting some free throws to nip North Hall 65-62 on Saturday in a GHSA Class AAAA girls second-round game.
“We miss a layup off the opening tip,” Veterans head coach Nicole Miranda said. “I thought, ‘Oh boy.’ ”
The Warhawks trailed 22-20 at halftime, which Miranda called a win.
Neither team had much consistency, although North Hall (18-12) kept trying to deal knockout punches with solid 3-point shooting and a steady day at the line.
But down the stretch, the Warhawks (29-1) found some accuracy at the free-throw line, and the Trojans cooled off with their shooting.
“I kept telling them, ‘No matter what mistakes, next play. Just getting 50-50 balls and hustling is gonna get this,’ ” Veterans guard Kya Cochran said.
The Trojans led 45-39 and then 50-46 early in the fourth. Anna Nicholson’s 3 made it a one-point game, and the Warhawks -- who trailed by 11 in the third quarter -- finally got the lead on Tiana Hughes’ 3 from the right wing with 3:40 left in the game.
Veterans’ four-point lead with 2:05 left was gone by the 1:22 mark, thanks to four straight free throws by Taylor Anne Kelley.
Cochran’s two free throws put Veterans up for good with 1:20 left. A few turnovers later, Cochran hit two more only for Chloe Barrett’s 3-pointer to bring the Trojans within 63-62 with 24 seconds left.
Hughes made one -- the Warhawks finished 19-of-35 at the free-throw line -- six seconds later, and then Khalya Owens got the rebound of a Kensi Gillespie miss, made a free throw with 6.8 seconds left and then celebrated a few seconds later after Gillespie’s runner missed.
“We just had to gut it out and make plays, no matter what,” Cochran said. “Don’t worry about the shots. We all have our backs.”
Owens -- who was big in the post on offense -- and Hughes led Veterans with 16 points each while Cochran had 13. Kelley had 14 and Gillespie 12 for North Hall.
The Warhawks went 2-0 on the day. Marist staffers were on hand after the War Eagles beat Griffin on Friday, so the coin toss for the two No. 1 seeds took place at halfcourt, with the Warhawks winning.
So Veterans is back home Tuesday.
“I really can’t remember,” Cochran said of the Warhawks’ last loss at home, only knowing it came last year. “It’s been a long time.”