Pressure ‘D’ key for Lady Cats
The North Harrison girls’ basketball team jumped out to a 28-4 lead over cross-county foe Lanesville last Wednesday, carrying the momentum to an 80-46 victory in the season opener for the squads.
Turnovers limited the chances for the host Lady Eagles. Neither team logged pretty stats in the turnover column ‘ Lanesville with 34 and North Harrison with 26 ‘ but the bulk of Lanesville’s came in the opening quarter.
North Harrison’s press and trapping defense limited the Lady Eagles to a handful of shot opportunities while forcing 16 turnovers.
While the miscues put Lanesville on its heels, the Lady Cats offense flourished in transition.
Brittany Knight began the scoring with a triple, followed by teammate Kasey Kelley getting to the free-throw line for four straight points. From there, point guard Jill Book stole the show, literally. She had four steals in the game, topped by backcourt teammate Kendra Lambert’s five. To close the first quarter, Book scored 17 of the final 21 points.
‘They jumped out defensively and did the things we work on within our defense well,’ North Harrison coach Missy Voyles said. ‘We have to pressure more this year compared to last year. We aren’t as big as we were last year, but we are quicker and a little faster.’
Book finished with 19 points, while Kelley and Lambert closed the game with 21 points each, as did Lanesville top scorer, Brooklynn Keinsley.
‘Some of our main players haven’t played in a game since last year,’ Lanesville coach Kevin Smith said in his first game on the sideline.
Many of his players missed their scrimmage due to taking the SAT.
‘We looked like deer in headlights for the first quarter and a half,’ Smith said. ‘North Harrison is a good team. They are quick and, because we aren’t very tall, what height they had outsized ours. They could throw it down inside then kick it out to nice shooters.’
Lanesville scored its first field goals on back-to-back efforts to start the second quarter behind buckets from Emma Zeller and Keinsley.
North Harrison didn’t wait too long to jump back into a groove. Lambert buried three triples in the second quarter along with another from Knight. The Lady Cats lead extended to 48-10 before Lanesville’s Drue Stewart and Mahailey Hall scored, eventually cutting the deficit to 51-14 at the half.
Kelley was efficient for the Lady Cats in the post, recording a double-double with 19 points and 14 rebounds.
‘She played well inside,’ Voyles said. ‘We’ve been on her for not being aggressive enough. It’s a good start to the season for her.’
With Kelley’s positive play in the paint, the outside opened and saw the Lady Cats sink eight 3-pointers.
‘We have six kids that we’re comfortable putting up the 3,’ Voyles said. ‘When we are hitting and they are figuring out the people hitting the shots and get the ball in their hand.’
The second half saw improved play from Lanesville as the Lady Eagles managed to outscore the Lady Cats 16-13 in the third quarter. Keinsley swished a pair of 3s while closing the quarter converting an old-fashioned 3-point play after picking off a steal.
‘We played with them in the second half when they changed defenses,’ Smith said. ‘We got Brooklynn going and started hitting some shots. Hopefully that carries over to our next few games.’
The teams went back and forth in the final quarter, but the deficit was much too great for Lanesville to overcome.
‘At halftime, I probably would have a better answer, but, after watching the second half, I’m not as positive,’ Voyles said of her overall thoughts. ‘We got a little complacent and out of position a few times switching up our defense. They didn’t adjust well to the defensive changes and the subbing.’
Alex Gott and Knight poured in six points each for North Harrison. Hall had a solid effort for Lanesville, reaching double-figure scoring with 11. Lanesville’s top player on the boards was Keinsley with eight.
‘We’re going to have to play better defense and play a little harder,’ Smith said of his team. ‘North played hard, and I told the girls that’s the effort we need to give on that end. The girls realize what they need to work on. They can’t hang their heads and get over this one loss.’
The Lady Cats will begin Mid-Southern Conference play Saturday when they host defending sectional champion Scottsburg at 7:30 p.m. Lanesville will hit the road tomorrow (Thursday) to face Christian Academy of Indiana at 7:30 p.m.