Lambert’s career-best 32 leads Lady Cats by Salem
North Harrison forced 32 turnovers in a 58-42 Mid-Southern Conference girls’ basketball victory Thursday night in Salem.
Catching the hot hand for the Lady Cats was Kendra Lambert. The junior, who has reached double-figure scoring in 11 of North Harrison’s 12 games, scored a career-best 32 points.
Her scorching effort began with a deep 2-point jumper to start the game followed by a triple to help put the Lady Cats up 6-1. North Harrison never trailed in the game, as Lambert poured in 16 of her points at the foul line, including an 8-of-10 effort in the final quarter.
‘I talked with her about not worrying about percentages and playing because she loves basketball,’ North Harrison coach Missy Voyles said. ‘I thought tonight she took shots as they came to her and didn’t rush them.’
Effort on the defensive end led to North Harrison holding the lead comfortably for the duration. Twenty Salem turnovers were forced in the opening half, some caused by the Lady Cat press and others trapping out of the half court.
Voyles said the team is going to be outsized in nearly every contest, so the defensive pressure must come in the front court while disrupting passing lanes.
Megan Naegele put in two points late in the first quarter to give North Harrison a 15-5 edge. Salem cut it to single digits when Danielle Voyles scored to close the frame.
Opening the second quarter, Jill Book pulled up for a jumper to stretch the North Harrison lead to double digits. Lambert then scored the next nine points for the Lady Cats, eventually allowing the visitors to lead 27-15 at the break.
The early portion of the third quarter was back-and-forth but with North Harrison maintaining its margin. The tail end of the frame, however, belonged to the Lady Cats. Alex Gott and Book scored field goals, while Lambert nailed a pair of triples, closing a 10-0 run to lead 44-24 heading into the final eight minutes.
Salem opened with a 12-4 run in the final quarter, but the closest the host team would close the deficit to was 12.
At the foul line, North Harrison made 12 of 17 down the stretch, leading to the Lady Cats’ first MSC win of the season.
Lambert’s 32 points were aided by four 3-pointers as well. She also had four steals, while Book had six swipes. Book also scored 10 points. Brittany Knight chipped in nine points, and Shaylah Neal pulled down six rebounds.
Salem was held to single-digit scoring in the first three quarters. Treasure Hurst led the Lady Lions with 10 points, while Alex Davidson had nine.
The win comes at a good time for North Harrison, which will wait until Jan. 5 to play its next game (vs. Seymour).
It’ll be time for the coaches and players to put in work on the practice floor.
‘There are a few new sets we will work on, some out-of-bounds plays,’ Voyles said of the focus before Jan. 5. ‘It gives teams that scouted us the first part of the year something else to worry about. … We are playing a lot of young kids. It is a big step going from junior high to varsity basketball. We’ll work on getting them more up to speed.’