3-point play caps MSC dual
Ranked No. 8 in their respective classes, the Austin-North Harrison girls’ basketball showdown Wednesday night in Austin lived up to the hype.
The wild game featured several runs from each team, and a key 3-point play conversion from Austin’s Katy McIntosh proved to be the game-winner for the Lady Eagles with 12.5 seconds left.
North Harrison’s Katie Watts had a jump shot rim out in the closing seconds, allowing Austin to hand the Lady Cats a 64-63 loss.
The fourth quarter provided a plethora of excitement for fans of both teams. Lady Cat Kayla Lambert outscored Austin 6-2 during a run that put North Harrison up 54-50 with 4:34 to play.
Chelsea Jones responded with her sixth 3-pointer of the game, pulling Austin within one point. North Harrison was able to maintain a slim lead until Michelle Goodin was fouled on a put-back, giving Austin a 58-57 edge with 2:40 left.
Austin’s lead lasted a short time, as Lambert, who scored 10 points in the fourth quarter, scored on a drive to the hoop to tie the game at 61-all with 1:25 remaining.
After an Austin miss, the Lady Cats scored quick, on a Watts field goal off the glass. The hoop put North Harrison up 63-61 with 27.5 seconds left.
During the stretch run, Austin called a time-out during a battle for the ball, giving the Lady Eagles an inbounds under the basket. Austin took advantage of the placement, finding an open McIntosh under the rim. Fouled on the play, the junior put up an off-balanced shot over her shoulder that found the bottom of the net.
‘We got totally lost on the play,’ North Harrison coach Hal Pearson said. ‘We saw that play on game-tape. We practiced defending that inbounds, and we talked about it during the time-out. We just didn’t execute.’
McIntosh converted the free throw, giving Austin the 64-63 edge. Watts got a good look at the basket for a possible winner from the right base-line, but the shot bounced off the rim. Austin came up with the rebound and took the key Mid-Southern Conference victory.
‘We got a decent look,’ Pearson said. ‘It wasn’t exactly what we were looking for, but that’s what opened up. We had an option to drive and, after the shot, we had someone there for the weak-side rebound but didn’t get it.’
North Harrison struggled at the line, going 5 of 13 for the game.
In the first half, North Harrison seemed destined to run away with the win. The Lady Cats scored 27 points in the quarter, building a 27-14 advantage.
The Lady Cats drilled five 3-pointers in the opening quarter, including four from Kacey Cox. Wynn Shroyer buried a trey to end the quarter, pressing the Lady Cats forward on a 10-0 run.
The spurt stretched into the second quarter, with baskets from Caitlyn Janes and Lambert, pushing North Harrison to its largest lead, 31-14.
Austin didn’t give in so easily. Lambert’s put-back with 3:05 to play in the half put North Harrison up 35-20. However, North Harrison failed to score the rest of the half. Austin went on a 10-0 run of its own to trail by five at intermission.
In the third quarter, Austin extended it to a 20-0 run, making four 3-pointers.
‘We didn’t run any offense,’ Pearson said of the Austin run. ‘For a long stretch, we didn’t execute at all. You can’t do that and beat a good team on the road. Austin is a good team, and this is a tough place to play.’
North Harrison led the charge with another 10-0 run of its own, leading to the back-and-forth final quarter.
The teams met during a holiday tournament on Jan. 3, with the Lady Eagles coming out on top in that one as well, 85-79.
Jones led all scorers with 26 points, including six 3-pointers. Goodin added 14, and McIntosh scored 10 points.
The Lady Cats were led by Cox’s 18 points, and Lambert tallied 16. Sasha Grangier scored 11 points and pulled down 11 rebounds as well.
North Harrison dropped to 12-3 on the season and 3-1 in the MSC. Austin improved to 13-4 and 5-2 in conference. North Harrison returns to action tomorrow (Thursday) at Bedford-North Lawrence.
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