Whooo dat? NH slugs Lady Owls
The North Harrison girls’ basketball team was hungry as it came into its Saturday afternoon game against visiting Seymour, a Class 4A Hoosier Hills Conference team that was heading into the contest with an 11-3 record. With a win, Lady Cats coach Missy Voyles told the players they’d have their choice of the next team dinner.
The Lady Cats feasted twice.
The first came during the game, as they plucked the Lady Owls clean in a 63-54 win. The second came right after the game, as Voyles kept her promise, with the girls picking El Nopalito Mexican restaurant.
‘I’ve kind of hit them in the pride the last two weeks, just telling them about offense,’ Voyles said after her team’s win. ‘We’ve got to be better offensively. It’s been a challenge getting them to run the floor hard offensively and look for your scoring opportunities and be aggressive. They’ve really come out for a good win and a good build for what they’ve done the last two weeks practice-wise.’
Scoring was what North Harrison did best in the first quarter, as the Lady Cats hit six of their nine shot attempts from the field. Seymour was also shooting well early, canning seven of nine, but North Harrison had more chances at the free-throw line, giving the Lady Cats a 21-17 lead after the first quarter.
Seymour began the second period with a 6-3 burst to take a 23-21 edge. North Harrison quickly responded with nine; Jourdan McAfee and Jessicka Chiquito finished the run with three-balls and led 30-23.
Seymour closed the gap back to four, 32-28, with a deuce and three. McAfee had the final shot of the half, hitting a long deuce to send the Lady Cats to the locker room with a 34-28 lead.
Voyles had started the game with a five-guard lineup in an extended zone to keep the Lady Owls from putting up three-balls.
‘I didn’t want them to sit on the 3-point line,’ she said. ‘I wanted to see them put the ball on the floor more and not to their right hand. We didn’t want them to stand out there and shoot threes all night. I’ve watched them do that well … I watched a game where they shot 19 threes in the first half alone. They shot 20 tonight, and they had shot 20 by halftime the other night when I watched them play. You can’t let them stand out there and play a game of horse with you. They will win.’
Seymour started the second half with an 8-2 run, canning a pair of threes, to tie the game at 36. North Harrison’s defense kept pushing the Lady Owls off their branches and again took a 42-39 lead. Lauren James scored in the paint for Seymour, but Chiquito countered with a Lady Cats’ three for a 45-41 advantage after three quarters.
‘We extended and matched up out of it where we knew their shooters would be,’ the North Harrison coach said. ‘We’re better that way. We did play some man. You may not have noticed it, but we did mix some man in there. It was sporadic.’
Chiquito and McAfee scored seven straight points to begin the final period, the Lady Cats’ lead going into double digits, 53-41. North Harrison fought to keep the Lady Owls at bay, but, with just more than four minutes to go, Maci Lubker canned three free throws after getting fouled behind the arc to close the gap back to seven, 56-49.
The game then went to the free-throw line, and the Lady Cats matched Seymour point for point. Burns then canned four in a row for a 62-51 Lady Cats’ lead. Emilee Pollman drilled a three to close the gap to eight, 62-54, with 23.4 seconds left. The Lady Owls called timeout but were unable to score any more as Burns got one final freebie for the 63-54 final score.
‘Thankfully, we had a good enough cushion it didn’t matter,’ Voyles said of her team’s missed free throws in the fourth quarter. ‘That’s something we have to get better at the next three or four weeks … They play hard. You can’t really fault that. They play hard in practice and they play hard on game day. They come out and they give it a good effort.’
Burns led North Harrison (11-6) with 20 points for the night, and Chiquito finished with 16. McAfee pumped in 14 points for the Lady Cats, who connected on 19 of 41 field-goal attempts (46 percent) and 18 of 33 free throws. North Harrison had 14 turnovers.
‘Stevi has had a rough beginning to the year, so it was really nice to see her play the way she’s capable of playing,’ Voyles said. ‘I think they’ve had a lot of growing pains early in the year. They’re a good defensive team, and they play very hard.
‘For a bunch of 14- and 15-year-old kids to learn how to score at a varsity level is very different. I’ve been challenging them for the last two weeks … If we’re going to become a better team, you’ve got to put points on the board. That’s been our focus in practice the last two weeks.’
Lubker led Seymour with 20 points, and Pollman followed with 12. Seymour connected on 19 of 45 field-goal attempts (42 percent), canning nine three-balls in their effort. Seymour was seven of 12 from the charity stripe and had 17 turnovers.
‘They really do have a great shooting team,’ Voyles said. ‘(Lubker), we knew she could shoot threes. We knew (Morgan) Ritz could shoot. Pollman is a great three-point shooting forward. They’ve got a lot of strong outside shooters. We lost (Lubker) several times trying to worry more about Pollman and Ritz because I had seen them shoot more than I had Lubker. I was more focused on Pollman and Ritz at that point than they were Lubker. But, when she got hot, you’ve got to recognize the shooter.’
Voyles said the win was a good one to build on with the sectional just a few weeks away.
‘This is a good team,’ Voyles said of Seymour. ‘Against a good team you cannot not be executing late in the game like that. We had a little lull there for about two minutes where we were not taking good shots.’
‘We have to be able to get into a set when we’re told to get into one,’ she said, ‘like the end of a quarter when you’re looking for one shot and they’re running around like chickens with their heads cut off, not getting where they need to get, just being organized in those situations. Knowing what a good shot is based on the score.’
Seymour 17 11 13 13 ‘ 54
North Harrison 21 13 11 18 ‘ 63
Seymour (11-4) ‘ James 7, Pollman 12, Griffin 7, Ritz 6, Fee 2, Lubker 20.
North Harrison (11-6) ‘ McAfee 14, Burns 20, Rennirt 1, Nolot 6, J. Chiquito 16, Hinton 6.
3-point goals ‘ Seymour 9 (James 2, Pollman, Griffin, Ritz 2, Lubker 3); North Harrison 3 (Burns, J. Chiquito 2).