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Lanesville's Elise Lawson (23) gets bent backwards reaching for a loose ball against North Harrison last Tuesday. Also going for the ball was, from left, Lanesville's Annie Parsons and North Harrison's Regan Coomer and Cheyenne Byerley. Photo by Brian Smith (click for larger version)

Defensive pressure leads to NH driving by Lady Eagles

November 20, 2013 | 10:18 AM

Nursing a few bumps and bruises, North Harrison was able to get past county foe Lanesville, 60-26, last Wednesday night to open the doors of the girls' basketball season.

Paced by three players scoring 12 points each — Kendra Lambert, Megan Smith and Stevi Burns — the Lady Cats used pressure defense in the first half to stifle the Lady Eagles.

The game was the season opener for both ball clubs.

North Harrison was without returning varsity contributors Carlie Burson and Kim Chiquito due to injuries while Lambert missed a few practices.

"You can tell a little bit that we've not been working together as much this week; That's because we've been trying to get some people healthy," North Harrison coach Missy Voyles said.

The Lady Cats came out of the gate quickly against Lanesville. Burns, a freshman, made her presence known with the season's first field goal. After a Megan Smith bucket to put North Harrison up 4-0, the lead grew two more points when Burns converted a Lambert steal into points.

Out of a time out, the Lady Eagles split the lead with a Jessica DeWeese triple. The Lady Cats, however, outscored Lanesville 8-2 the rest of the first quarter to lead 14-5. Two of the buckets, one each from Jourdan McAfee and Burns came off turnovers.

"They put something on we can't simulate in practice, in length and quickness to the ball," Lanesville coach Kevin Smith said. "I talked to them about that. We need to be able to run and move quickly like they do. Sometimes they don't get that practice-wise. So, we need to do a better job in practice and with more intensity."

North Harrison carried the momentum from the end of the first quarter into the second. Lambert nailed a 3-pointer from the left wing, followed by Smith scoring off a Jill Book steal. The spurt increased North Harrison's lead to 20-6.

During the final six minutes of the first half, Lanesville was able to attack and draw plenty of fouls. The Lady Eagles made one field goal in the second quarter — from Erica Daly — but went to the charity stripe for nine opportunities. They would make good on five freebies.

North Harrison was able to find better offensive rhythm despite fouling on the defensive end. Lambert added another trey to give her team a 32-12 halftime edge.

The Lady Cats were able to get into open spaces against the Lanesville zone defense.

"If you're playing against a zone and you're shooting up nothing but 3s, then you're probably not going to win a lot of games unless you're really hitting," Voyles said. "It's that mid-range jump shot that a lot of people don't look for. We have to push to look for those shots to some extent."

During the course of the first half, Lanesville struggled with maintaining possession of the ball. Back-court pressure by the Lady Cats led to 16 first-half turnovers.

"They trap you; they run you," Smith said of North Harrison's defense." But in a half-court set, I thought we could play with them. I thought we could drive on them and get open shots. Sometimes we did that, but we've just got to be better ball-handlers and be smarter with the ball."

Lanesville was held to single digits in all four quarters, while the Lady Cats were able to reach double digits in each.

Voyles said Burns, who drew the start as a freshman, had jitters early on. The veteran coach saw it from the tip when she inadvertently ran toward the wrong end of the court.

"I think playing a quarter of JV might have helped a little bit," Voyles said. "It's a little bit of pressure to step out there and start your first game in varsity as a freshman and first game of the year. She had practiced really well."

The first-game nerves weren't evident as the game went on for Burns, who ended up tallying 12 points.

Overall, Voyles said the game was sloppy, mainly to running set plays in practice without Lambert. The senior responded with a solid 12-point night.

"That kind of messes with your chemistry when you're taking her off the floor," Voyles said.

Lambert had been taking it easy during practices, nursing a minor injury, to be ready for games.

Lanesville wasn't able to chip into the North Harrison lead in the second half.

The Eagles were led in scoring by DeWeese with seven points. Seven different Lady Eagles scored, with Emma Zeller and Hannah Walther adding in five points each.

"This year, I'm not going to go moral victories," Smith said. "(North Harrison) didn't kick our tail like they did last year, but we gave them the lead in the first half with turnovers. They were doubting themselves that they couldn't play with them. We can play with that North Harrison team; they just don't believe it yet."

Lanesville will host Christian Academy of Indiana tomorrow (Thursday) at 7:30 p.m., while North Harrison will visit South Central on Tuesday.


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    Lanesville Girls vs No. Harrison
    November 21, 2013 | 09:19 AM

    GOOD job HANNAH WALTHER keep up the good work.

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