Posted on

Lady Cats rally in 4th, top SC

Lady Cats rally in 4th, top SC
Lady Cats rally in 4th, top SC
North Harrison's Jourdan McAfee rises for a shot in the second half, drawing contact from Silver Creek's Lauren Cunliffe. Photo by Brian Smith

Struggles to score in the third quarter didn’t deter North Harrison’s plans last Wednesday to keep the defensive pressure up on Silver Creek.
Trailing by five entering the final eight minutes saw forced turnovers turn into momentum for the Lady Cats. Then, big buckets ‘ field goals by Jessicka Chiquito, Cali Nolot, Savannah Taylor and Stevi Burns ‘ gave North Harrison the eventual win, 50-48.
Silver Creek’s Kelsi Scott, a powerful post presence at 6-foot-2, knotted the game with 19 seconds remaining at 48-all.
Transitioning to the North Harrison offensive end, Nolot took the ball toward the left corner and spun back toward the paint. Her shot, with six seconds to play, swished through the net, giving the Lady Cats a 50-48 lead.
Silver Creek had a chance to tie, but Haley Baxter’s drive to the paint didn’t result in a quality shot, allowing the Lady Cats to sneak away from Sellersburg with a pre-Thanksgiving victory in the Mid-Southern Conference.
‘That’s huge for a freshman,’ North Harrison coach Missy Voyles said. ‘Jess coming down and taking it all the way to the rim is big. They were gutsy.’
Chiquito drove to the hoop for a field goal to start the final quarter to put the Lady Cats within three points. Pressure by the North Harrison defense led to a back-court violation by Silver Creek. When the Lady Cats got the ball back, Nolot’s aggressive play saw her sink a shot in the paint.
The teams then traded field goals: Baxter for the Lady Dragons then Taylor with a free-throw line jumper. Taylor’s shot kept North Harrison within one, 43-42.
‘Savannah had a big shot for us,’ Voyles said of the senior. ‘It was there all night, and she put it down for us at a big moment of the game.’
Part of being gutsy for Nolot was bouncing back from taking a shot to the face while battling for a rebound with five minutes to play. After composing herself at the end of North Harrison’s bench, Nolot checked back in with four to go.
Silver Creek’s two-point lead disappeared with 1:44 to play. Stepping outside, North Harrison sophomore Stevi Burns nailed a 3-pointer to put her team up 47-46.
Following a Silver Creek turnover, the team’s seventh of the fourth quarter, Hallie Hinton made 1-of-3 free throws. She missed the front end of a one-and-one, but Nolot was able to corral the rebound.
Scott, who finished with a game-best 20 points, sank two freebies to tie the game. She was upended by Nolot’s game-winner.
‘Any win is a good win at the moment,’ Voyles said. ‘We played so poorly against Scottsburg, we just really wanted to come out and not play timid the way we did last Saturday. I thought we did a much better job of matching punch for punch.’
Jourdan McAfee had a huge first half for the Lady Cats, scoring 10 of her 12 points during that span. She also paced the team in rebounds with six.
McAfee also joined forces with teammates Hayley Elliott, Emma Nokes and Taylor to try and slow Scott in the post for Silver Creek.
‘We’re not that big,’ Voyles said. ‘We went through all three bigs to try and stop her. We made Jourdi play inside some. It gives (Silver Creek) a lot of good shots from the outside because everyone is keyed on keeping the ball from scoring inside. They knocked some of those shots down today.’
The Lady Dragons were potent from beyond the arc in the first half. They made 5-of-7 three-point attempts. In the second half, they couldn’t get a trey to fall.
In the second quarter, Nolot and Chiquito hit back-to-back long-range bombs to give North Harrison a 28-22 lead. The margin would be the biggest for either team.
To start the second half, Scott outscored the Lady Cats 8-2 on her own to draw the game closer for the Lady Dragons. From there, it was a nail-biter to the end.
‘It’s different going from eighth grade to here,’ Voyles said of the freshmen group. ‘They’ve played a lot of basketball, and I think they are doing a better job of mixing with their upperclassmen. We’ll get better at that, mixing the younger and older players. I keep telling them, it’s not one person’s night tonight. Several girls had some big moments tonight.’
Nolot closed with 12 points. Hinton and Chiquito, both freshmen as well, had eight and six points, respectively.
Three challenging games are ahead for the Lady Cats (3-2) this week. They traveled to Jasper last night (Tuesday) then will host undefeated New Albany tomorrow (7:30 p.m.) and Columbus East on Saturday (2 p.m.).

North Harrison 17 13 6 14 ‘ 50
Silver Creek 17 10 14 7 ‘ 48
North Harrison (3-2, 1-1 MSC) ‘ Nolot 12, McAfee 12, Hinton 8, J. Chiquito 6, Taylor 4, Burns 4, Jones 2, Elliott 2.
Silver Creek (0-4, 0-1) ‘ Scott 20, Barnett 10, Cunliffe 8, Baxter 4, Polston 4, Reynolds 2.
3-point goals ‘ North Harrison 4 (Nolot, McAfee, Hinton, Chiquito); Silver Creek 5 (Barnett 2, Cunliffe 2, Polston).