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NH struggles in 2nd vs. No. 9 Scottsburg

NH struggles in 2nd vs. No. 9 Scottsburg
NH struggles in 2nd vs. No. 9 Scottsburg
North HarrisonÂ’s Jill Book gets bumped by a Scottsburg defender on her way to the basket in the first half. Photo by Brian Smith (click for larger version)

Finding a way to play better in the second half of games is something the North Harrison girls’ basketball team will have to solve soon.
Saturday, against Mid-Southern Conference rival Scottsburg, the Lady Cats struggled mightily in the second half after leading by five at the break. Scottsburg amassed 49 points in the second half to defeat North Harrison, 76-56, in Ramsey.
‘We are the best first-half team in the state, I swear we are,’ North Harrison coach Missy Voyles said. ‘We play two great quarters of basketball, then we just need to pack our ball up and go home at that point.’
Leads were held at the half in victories over Lanesville and Crawford County, along with the Lady Cats’ other loss, at Jeffersonville.
‘We have mentally checked out at halftime of every game we’ve played,’ Voyles said. ‘We have yet to play a second half of basketball. … I’m not sure if they aren’t used to being ahead at halftime; I’m not sure what the deal is. They come out timid in the third quarter.’
In the first half, North Harrison dictated play against the Class 3A No. 9 Warriorettes. Jill Book accounted for eight of her 20 points in the opening frame. The sophomore’s final two buckets of the first quarter gave the home team a 16-13 lead.
The second quarter was one of momentum swings. Scottsburg’s Kelsey Smith put in four points, part of a run to put her team up 22-18.
Meeting the challenge, North Harrison went on a run of its own. During the final six minutes until the half, the Lady Cats outscored the Warriorettes 14-5 to lead 32-17.
During the scoring stretch, Lambert scored nine of her team-high 21 points. In the first half, North Harrison controlled the tempo and saw Scottsburg turn the ball over 15 times.
‘What we did in the first half is what I thought we could do against Scottsburg,’ Voyles said, alluding to penetrating the baseline on offense and crashing the offensive boards.
Defensively, the Lady Cats wanted to pressure Scottsburg’s wings, which is what they did successfully.
‘Then, the second half, we quit doing them,’ Voyles said.
The second half was a completely different story. Four minutes into the third quarter, Scottsburg pushed the ball up court and exploded for a 17-0 run. Jillian Romero caught fire, hitting two 3-pointers and converting a backcourt steal into a lay-up.
In the end, Scottsburg poured in 28 points in the third quarter, putting the Warriorettes ahead 55-41. The second-half play left plenty of questions from Voyles to her team.
‘I burned every (time-out) I had but one,’ she said. ‘I get they made an adjustment defensively and I could see where that may shake you offensively, but what was wrong with your defense? Why are they beating you down the floor in transition? Why aren’t you out playing the passing lanes the way you were taught to do? Why are you timid defensively in the second half? I don’t get that.’
Scottsburg was also strong at the line, making 30 of 37 free throws.
North Harrison posted strong numbers at the line as well (23 of 30) but struggled shooting from the floor.
‘We couldn’t hit a 3 tonight,’ Voyles said. ‘We aren’t shooting in rhythm. We’re quick and impatient with what we are doing.’
Lambert led North Harrison with 21 points, while Book had 20. Ashley Elliot had 21 points and 10 rebounds, while Wampler was held in check scoring with six but pulled 10 boards.
‘We’ve thrown a lot of combinations out there,’ Voyles said. ‘We started the year with Megan Naegele playing quite a bit in practice, but she is now out and not sure when she comes back. Kasey (Kelley) was hurt tonight, so she was in and out.’
Voyles said some kids stepped up to the varsity level earlier than initially planned due to the injuries.
‘We threw some kids out there that really aren’t ready to play,’ she said. ‘Hayley (Elliot) needs a whole year of JV basketball to get herself ready for next year and she’s not going to get to do that right now, and I hate that. I’d much prefer to leave (Carlie) Burson and (Shayla) Neal on JV.’
Neal made the most of her minutes, collecting nine rebounds and scoring two points. Voyles said Neal’s ability to rebound went noticed by the coaching staff in practice.
North Harrison will play tonight (Wednesday) when the Lady Cats travel to Silver Creek for a 7:30 tip. They will also play Tuesday at Jasper (7:30 p.m. tip).