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Salem comes out sharp, ousts NH

The North Harrison Lady Cats had won five of their last six games going into the Class 3A Mitchell Sectional last Wednesday night. All of that momentum, however, slammed into a concrete wall provided by Salem as North Harrison saw its year come down in pieces in a 46-38 loss.
‘We played timid the whole time,’ said a disappointed North Harrison coach Hal Pearson. ‘The atmosphere, or whatever it was, got to us. We played scared. Our shots didn’t fall. And when shots didn’t fall, we got even tighter.’
Both teams got off to a shaky start, with Salem missing its first four shots and North Harrison missing its first five. The Lady Lions finally found their range, knocking down three of their next four, all from downtown, for a 9-2 lead. Jessica Mosier and Sasha Grangier pulled the Lady Cats back to a 9-9 tie, but Whitney Malloy cashed in a Salem three for a 12-9 lead after one quarter.
North Harrison finally got a burst in the second as Madison Snodgrass and Kayla Lambert put together five straight points. Salem got just one field goal in the quarter out of nine attempts, but the Lady Cats failed to take advantage, hitting just 2 of 7 attempts. Lambert got the last bucket of the half with 1:15 to go. North Harrison took a 16-15 lead to the break.
‘We’ve been fine defensively all year,’ said Pearson. ‘We just didn’t attack offensively. If Lambert and Wynn aren’t shooting well, that makes it a lot harder. We had a good inside game tonight. We got back to it and that’s when we made a little bit of a run.’
Shaylee Brown gave Salem a one-point edge to start the second half, and the Lady Lions built on that with a 10-2 run for a 25-18 lead. North Harrison tried to get back in it with a 6-2 burst to pull back within three, but Victoria Taylor scored late to keep the Lady Cats’ deficit at five, 29-24.
Brown swished a three early in the fourth, but the Lady Cats had another run in them, outscoring Salem 9-2 to tie the game 34-34 with 2:54 to go. Mosier countered each Salem basket until a Brown steal ignited the Lady Lions to finish with an 8-0 run for the 46-38 win.
‘We finally gave ourselves a chance to win the game late and had the ball with a minute or so to go and tried to take the last shot,’ Pearson said. ‘They just stepped out and made a steal at the right time and that was it.’
‘We did small things all night that were bad,’ he said. ‘We missed a rebound late on a free throw and then it’s still a four-point game. They tried to help us out, and we didn’t want to capitalize on any of it.’
Pearson said the fourth-quarter run was a matter of just playing the game.
‘There was nothing different,’ he said. ‘It was the urgency in how we played that wasn’t there the whole game. That was the difference. There was an urgency. People started taking a shot, ‘Well, what the heck if I miss; we’re behind.’ That’s the difference in the philosophy in how they played. We played from behind instead of in front.’
Mosier led the Lady Cats (13-9) with 14 points. North Harrison was just 15 of 49 from the field (30 percent) and 7 of 9 from the stripe. The Lady Cats had 10 turnovers.
‘Mo had a great game,’ Pearson said of the senior. ‘I know she hates to lose, and she’s given a good hard four years. She goes out with 14 points and nine rebounds and played really well. Katie Voyles did the things we asked her to all year as a senior. She was a great leader for us and played solid defense and did a lot of nice things.’
Brown and Megan Smith led the Lady Lions (11-10) with 14 points each. Salem was 15 of 35 in field goals (42 percent) and 10 of 19 in free throws. Salem had just nine turnovers for the 32 minutes.
Pearson said confidence has been a factor in several of the games his team has played this year.
‘We’ve talked a lot in our locker room and in other places that we don’t believe in ourselves very much,’ he said. ‘It doesn’t matter what kind of year we’ve had; when it comes to this type of a game, we don’t necessarily have the belief that we can pull a game out in a sectional. I thought we were getting over that with some of the teams we’ve played. We were 6-2 against 3-A schools. 4-A schools when we thought we couldn’t win, we were 1-4.’
For North Harrison’s youngsters, it was another year of experience, but Pearson said he wants more results.
‘Another year under our belt is good, but I’m sick of another year under our belts,’ said the North Harrison coach. ‘It’s time to do something with this group. There needs to be an urgency and it needs to happen this summer and for the next year. There needs to be a sellout and everyday and going a 110 percent at it.’
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