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Lady Cats get costly win at Crawford

Lady Cats get costly win at Crawford
Lady Cats get costly win at Crawford
North Harrison guard Cali Nolot slides around the hip of Crawford County's Brooke Sauer late in the second half of last Tuesday's game. Sauer sat out most of the game in foul trouble. Photo by Wade Bell

Anytime you put rivals North Harrison and Crawford County together in any sport, you can expect it to be a knock-down, drag-out fight, no matter what the conditions are. Last Tuesday night was the same during the Lady Cats’ and Lady Pack’s annual basketball event, but it proved more costly for the Lady Cats who won but lost junior starter Carlie Burson with a broken wrist early in the game.
‘I’m happy with every win. I may not be happy with the way we played, but I’m always happy with a win,’ North Harrison coach Missy Voyles said. ‘That (injury) rattles a team. It rattles your rotation. It changes your defense. She’s at the hospital. … I think that’s pretty hard, mentally, for the kids to overcome and keep playing. They depend on her for a lot of things.’
‘I hate that had to happen,’ Crawford County coach Chris Broughton said of Burson. ‘She’s a good kid, and I hope everything is OK with her. But you look at that first quarter, and we had a terrible start. I know we had 20 turnovers at halftime, and I would have to say probably two-thirds of those were in the first quarter.’
The game began with the two teams swapping three-balls in the opening minutes, the first by Crawford County’s Carley Allen and second by North Harrison’s Cali Nolot. Moments later, with the game tied at five, the Lady Cats went on an 11-0 burst, with sophomore Stevi Burns dumping seven of those, for a 16-5 lead.
Burson’s injury came late in the period when she and three other players chased after a loose ball. The North Harrison junior came up screaming from the melee holding her right arm and immediately went to the floor. After a few minutes, she was helped off the floor and later taken to a hospital where an X-ray confirmed she had two broken bones in her right wrist.
Crawford County came back from that point and tightened up the game with a 5-1 burst, closing to within 18-11.
‘I thought we played rattled all the way around after she went down,’ Voyles said. ‘We had people in roles they’re not used to playing.’
‘We had a horrible start to the first quarter, but, then, you look up and it’s only 18-11, and I was really proud of our kids for really hanging in there,’ Broughton said. ‘Multiple times they could have quit. A lot of times in the past we would have quit against North Harrison.’
Fouls were becoming a problem, however, for the Lady Pack, and a big one came less than a minute into the second quarter when starter Brooke Sauer drew her third, forcing the senior to the bench.
Still, the Lady Pack kept the game within seven points until Burns and Hayley Elliott pushed the Lady Cats’ advantage back to double digits, 25-14. The lead later went to 13, but Carley Allen swished a three late for Crawford County, and the Lady Cats went to the locker room with a 31-21 advantage.
Voyles said before the game she was hoping to create a lot of Crawford County turnovers and did so, with the Lady Pack erring 20 times. Voyles said, however, that was a moot point as her team committed 16 in the half.
‘It just becomes a neutral point if you turn it over as many times as you’re causing,’ she said. ‘We were very impatient, and we were trying to force things. We haven’t done that the first two games, and today was a little different. We played pretty chaotic. It happens.’
‘You can’t turn the other team over and give it right back to them,’ Broughton said. ‘We had that crucial time I called a time-out down seven, hoping to get a time-out and draw something up, and we come down and turn it over. Then, it goes to a nine-point game. We come down and turn it over again, and it goes to a 12-point game. We’re down seven with the ball and have got a chance to cut it down, and, then, it goes right back to 12.’
Carley Allen pulled Crawford County back to within seven points again midway through the third period after drilling another three. However, lightning struck the Lady Pack again as Sauer was called for her fourth foul.
Late in the quarter, North Harrison found some breathing room as Burns scored in the paint then hit from behind the arc for a 42-30 lead at the end of the period.
The final quarter saw the Lady Cats hold on to their double-digit lead to get the 50-37 win.
‘I was pleased with our defense,’ Voyles said. ‘I thought late in the game we were trying to do some things that we were being asked to do. We were being a little more disciplined and tried to do what we were trying to accomplish. You can tell we’re young. We came down with a lead and were throwing up some really quick shots. We had to have a time-out about playing against the clock.’
‘We were able to turn them over some, which I was happy with,’ Broughton said. ‘That’s got to be a big part of our game, just getting up and down. At times, the game might have seemed kind of helter-skelter, like it was up-and-down, but that’s how we’re going to have to play to be successful, try to take teams and get them out of their game. We forced them into some bad shots.’
Burns led the Lady Cats with 22 points. The Lady Cats had 25 turnovers.
‘She hit some big shots when we needed to score, so that’s good,’ Voyles said of Burns. ‘The game was called pretty tight, so that took us out of (the press) a little bit. We finally backed off to a three-quarters match-up a little bit. We did a little better with that.’
Carley Allen led Crawford County with 11 points, including three three-balls.
Turnovers were again a problem, with Crawford County coughing up the ball 29 times.
‘We kept losing Allen, and that’s youth too,’ Voyles said. ‘You can’t not know where your scorers are and let them get wide-open looks. We let her get lots of wide-open looks.’
Broughton said when Sauer drew her third foul early in the second and her fourth midway through the third, it took away part of his team’s inside game.
‘The big thing with Brooke is, when she’s in the game, she gets a lot of rebounds out of her area,’ Broughton said. ‘She might be on the right block, and she can go across the lane and get a rebound outside of what maybe she should have got. When she goes down, it really hurts our rebounding because we kind of have to go small.’
‘I thought Morgan Puckett did a great job tonight,’ Broughton said. ‘She came in and made some scrap plays and got some rebounds. If she can do that for us, she is going to be a really big help going forward.’
Voyles said that, with Burson out now for several weeks, she will have to rearrange her team to look for some new combinations at the same time of finding somebody to step up to fill Burson’s shoes.
‘It’s a huge loss, but, like I told the girls, I’ve got 14 people sitting on this bench, and I played 12 of them tonight,’ Voyles said. ‘Any given night I think any of them from that group can step up and play, and we need to embrace that. Whoever’s night that happens to be, we need to be cheering for those people and being supportive of them, whether it’s you or not, being supportive of whoever is on the floor. We’ll go from here.’
Broughton said his team’s first two games have shown the Lady Pack have plenty of weapons to work with if a player is forced to the bench for one reason or another. The Crawford County coach said that’s what makes his team so dangerous.
‘We’ve got a lot of weapons, but we’re going to have to start playing a little consistent,’ he said. ‘I’ve got to know, hey, I can count on this player for a round ‘X’ amount of points. If they get more that’s good, they’re feeling good that night. Or I can count on this play for ‘X’ amount of rebounds. Or they can do this defensively for me. We’ve all got to work on playing a little more consistent.’

North Harrison 18 13 11 8 ‘ 50
Crawford County 11 10 9 7 ‘ 37
North Harrison (2-1) ‘ Baumgarten 1, McAfee 5, Jones 6, Elliott 5, Burns 22, Rennirt 2, Nolot 6, K. Chiquito 3
Crawford County (0-2) ‘ Sauer 4, T. Allen 9, Tincher 1, Bowman 2, C. Allen 11, Jellison 6, Puckett 2, Smith 2
3-point goals ‘ North Harrison 3 (Burns 2, Nolot); Crawford County 3 (C. Allen 3).