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Lady Cats succumb to NA, 64-55

A rough third quarter Thursday night proved costly for North Harrison as it fell to the visiting New Albany Lady Bulldogs, 64-55.
‘I saw a couple of bad quarters,’ Lady Cat coach Hal Pearson said. ‘I saw us play hard the second, and I saw us play hard the fourth. I thought the first quarter we came out and didn’t attack and do a lot of things. We played a little scared. We missed a lot of easy shots.’
The Lady Cats struggled early, committing four turnovers in the first three minutes, and New Albany took advantage, jumping to an 11-4 lead.
A three-ball by Wynn Shroyer and free throw by Laura Allen pulled the Lady Cats within three, but Brittany Sutton scored the next seven points for New Albany, and North, who erred twice more, trailed 20-10.
The Lady Cats made only a slight gain by the end of the period, with Ashley Eveslage scoring with just over a half-minute left to pull North Harrison within eight after the first eight minutes.
North finally found a foothold in the second period, with Jessica Mosier dumping in a pair of deuces and Shroyer adding another triple to shrink the Lady Cat deficit to three, 27-24. Then, after a cluster of turnovers by both teams, Eveslage scored inside to cut New Albany’s lead to one.
The Lady Cats misfired from both the field and the free-throw line on its next two possessions, but with 3:30 to go in the half, the third time was the charm as Shroyer swooshed her third three for a 29-27 Lady Cat lead.
Lady Bulldog Lauren Brown then got back-to-back deuces in the paint to push New Albany back in front by two. Mosier countered with a free throw, but Taylor Fountain hit a short jumper to give the Lady Bulldogs a 33-30 lead at halftime.
‘We attacked and attacked offensively,’ Pearson said. ‘We played a zone, which hurt them quite a bit. (New Albany’s coach) made adjustments at halftime and did a good job, and we came out again not very alert like we needed to go for the third quarter.’
One thing North Harrison did do well in the second quarter was find the open player when New Albany trapped on defense.
‘That’s the quarter we went forward,’ Pearson said. ‘That’s the quarter we scored our points and looked decent.’
Somewhere during the 10-minute halftime break, however, the gears locked up in North Harrison’s scoring drive.
New Albany began the third quarter with a 13-2 run to take a 46-32 lead. North Harrison’s only field goal in the quarter came from Katie Voyles, who sank a long deuce, as the Lady Bulldogs took a 46-34 lead into the final period.
‘In the third quarter, we came out in the same zone and gave up some wide-open shots,’ Pearson said. ‘They take it out of bounds under the basket and the girl steps out on the wing and they throw it to her and she shoots. We’re just standing there mentally. We were getting ready to run a break off of a free throw and one of my kids asked, ‘What defense do you want?’ We were getting ready to go into offense. Mentally, all night long we just weren’t prepared.’
North Harrison finally got going again midway through the fourth quarter, as Mosier scored six straight points to pull the Lady Cats within six, 50-44, with 3:41 to go in the game and forcing New Albany to call timeout.
Eveslage missed a pair of free throws that would have pulled the Lady Cats within two, then New Albany’s Stephanie Sands swished the back-breaker with a three-ball. North Harrison missed its next three shots from the field, and New Albany held off the Lady Cats through the last three minutes for the nine-point win.
Mosier led the Lady Cats with 17 points and five rebounds. Allen had 10 points and eight assists, and Shroyer nine points, five boards and six assists. North Harrison was just 14 of 24 from the free-throw line and made 22 turnovers.
Missing from the lineup were junior Sasha Grangier, with an ankle injury from the Jasper game, and freshman Caitlyn Janes, with a hip stress fracture. Both could be out for about three weeks.
‘With Sasha being out, we hurt a little from the aspect that we had to run some people in some different spots they haven’t been in before,’ Pearson said. ‘Shroyer was playing a strong forward, and she never ran that before, so that was a little bit of it.’
‘It takes away defensively,’ he said. ‘We put (Grangier) on the best player, whether it’s a guard or a forward or a center. She flat out gets after it. Sasha attacks all the time, offensively and defensively. That’s makes a difference for us.’
‘A positive aspect we had with Sasha down, we got some people some more minutes,’ Pearson said. ‘Katie Voyles played some really strong minutes. Brooke Auberry played good minutes in the first half, and Brandi Auberry came in and played very solidly in the fourth quarter. We had a good contribution off our bench.’
Fountain led New Albany with 13 points, and Brown and Brandi Waller finished with 11 each. Liz Bennett had 10 points. New Albany was 15 of 22 from the charity stripe and committed 21 turnovers.
‘We’ve got a light switch that’s turned off right now,’ he said. ‘When it’s off, it’s really off, and when it’s on, it looks pretty good. We just have to realize we’re a pretty good team, and I don’t think we realized we’re at that level.’
‘In the long run we’re looking at conference and trying to finish high,’ said the North Harrison coach. ‘We control our own destiny there. We’ve not been out of a game all year. We’re 3-3, and we could just as easily be 5-1 or 6-0. Tonight, we were never really in it, but never really out of it either.’
North gets another chance to test its mettle tonight (Wednesday) as the Lady Cats host No. 4-ranked (Class 1A) South Central (7-1).