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Lady Cats tumble in final

Lady Cats tumble in final
Lady Cats tumble in final
North Harrison's Lilly Hatton is double-teamed by Greenfield Central's Brittany Wheeler (20) and Madison Wise during the second half of Thursday night's championship game of the City Securities Hall of Fame Classic in New Castle. Hatton scored a team-high 17 points, however; the Lady Cats suffered their first loss of the season, 61-37. Photos by Chris Timberlake

Greenfield-Central ventured into the City Securities Hall of Fame Classic with more losses (seven) than the rest of the field combined (five), but, when all was said and done last Thursday in New Castle, the Cougars had the championship hardware tucked away for the short drive back to Hancock County.
After a late layup proved to be the difference in a 48-46 win over 4A’s 14th-ranked Plainfield (12-5) in the opening session, the 4A Cougars (10-7) ran away from the top-ranked Class 3A North Harrison Lady Cats (14-1) in the championship game, 61-37.
It marked only the fourth loss in the last 46 games for Missy Voyles’ Lady Cats’ crew. Those previous three losses had come by a combined 10 points.
‘I actually felt like it got away at the beginning,’ Voyles said. ‘I don’t know. We were just flat all the way around.’
North Harrison overcame a sluggish start in its opening game, rallying from a 14-5 deficit for a 67-58 win over 3A No. 6 Tippecanoe Valley (11-3). However, there would be no rally in the final game, only heartache and frustration.
North Harrison never led, and the only tie happened just a little over three minutes into the game when a Lilly Hatton put-back made it 5-all. Hatton scored a team-high 17 points and had five blocks for the Lady Cats, who made just 14 of 47 shots (30 percent) and missed 15 of 16 three-point attempts.
‘And free throws (8-for-20) weren’t very good either,’ Voyles said. ‘You’re not going to win shooting like that.’
Greenfield-Central was led by tournament MVP Madison Wise, a Miss Basketball hopeful who has signed to play college ball at Iowa State University. She came into the tournament averaging a double-double with 24.3 points and 10.8 rebounds per game this season.
Wise was checked on 11 points, but she handed out five assists against NH.
‘I think we focused a little bit too much on her to the point where we were leaving everybody else wide open,’ Voyles said. ‘You can’t focus on her that much. You have to know where she is. You have to double when she gets the ball inside. But you can’t focus so much on her that you’re letting the rest of the team play horse.’
Katie Real scored 19 points for the Cougars, while Katie Helgason, who had the game-winner against Plainfield, added 14. Helgason missed the team’s first 10 games this season following knee surgery on Sept. 1.
‘No. 2 (Helgason) is getting healthy,’ Cougars’ coach Doug Laker said. ‘It’s unbelievable what she’s come back from … We’re three months out, and that girl did that. Just a freak of nature.’
Laker’s team led 28-21 at halftime and seized control with a 13-0 run in the third quarter, while the Lady Cats endured a nearly seven-minute scoring drought.
‘You want to take away the big (Hatton). We did a good job in the first half,’ Laker said. ‘I thought Madison shut her down. Got two quick fouls. Our kids did a great job adjusting right there. Then, we adjusted again at halftime. We were going to let some of their shooters go then double-team with Madison and let everybody else rotate off that. Then, I thought we could transition break.’
The Lady Cats’ deficit ballooned to 44-23 before Emma Nokes connected on a 3-pointer with 16 seconds left in the third quarter.
The Cougars led by as many as 28 points (59-31), shot 48.8 percent from the field and made eight of 12 three-pointers. They had 14 assists on 20 buckets.
‘When we share like that, we’re fun to watch,’ Laker said. ‘But it all starts at the defensive end, and our kids did a great job of that.
‘We play an unbelievable, brutal schedule,’ he added. ‘The Sagarin rating says 18, but I want to see those 18 teams. Only ones I could say are Carmel and Lawrence North play better schedules. But we’ll play anybody anywhere, and this year we’ve done that, and it showed.’
North Harrison will return to action tomorrow night (Thursday) at Providence and will host Seymour, one of three teams it lost to last season, on Saturday afternoon.
‘We’ll go back to working on our offense,’ Voyles said. ‘I didn’t feel like we executed well at all tonight, in any way. We’ll get back to that, and working on defensive positioning.’

* * *

North Harrison used an 18-0 run to break open a close game with Tippecanoe Valley in the third quarter of its opening match-up.
Valley’s Meredith Brouyette tied the game at 34 with a 40-foot heave at the end of the first half, but North Harrison’s run turned a 36-34 deficit into a 52-36 advantage by late in the third.
‘I thought we just did a better job of moving the ball, and we found some ways to isolate Lilly a little bit,’ Voyles said. ‘And we did a little better job picking up the double teams and kicking it out for open shots.’
After a Cali Nolot free throw, Hatton ignited the run with two inside buckets and a pair of free throws. Hallie Hinton followed with a 3-pointer and Stevi Burns then scored five straight points before a Nolot 3-pointer gave the Lady Cats their biggest lead of the game.
Nolot and Taylor Rennirt combined for 24 of North Harrison’s first-half points, with Rennirt getting 15 of those on 6-of-9 shooting.
‘She (Rennirt) had a great first half,’ Voyles said. ‘She wasn’t hesitating. She was pulling up and shooting the ball the way we want her to all the time.’
Rennirt and Nolot each scored a team-high 18 points. Burns added 13, and Hatton scored 10 while swatting four shots.
North Harrison had a sharp 17 assists on 18 field goals and made nine of 18 three-point shots. The Lady Cats scored 26 points off 19 turnovers that included 11 steals.
Valley was led by Anne Secrest’s 22 points with only six of those coming in the second half.
‘We need to play this kind of competition to see where we are,’ Voyles said, before smiling. ‘I won’t share with you, but there were some weaknesses I saw, and we need that kind of stuff.’

* * *

Joining Wise on the All-Classic team were teammates Real and Helgason, North Harrison’s Hatton, Tippecanoe Valley’s Secrest and Plainfield’s Samantha Olinger.

* * *

Prior to the championship game, Burns was awarded the Hall of Fame Classic’s Jennings Scholarship. That award is named for the late New Castle businessman and civic leader Richard P. Jennings. He was the first volunteer coordinator for the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame.
Isaac Hibbard of New Albany received the award during the boys’ tournament on Friday.

The Fieldhouse, New Castle
Championship Game
Greenfield-Central 15 13 16 17 ‘ 61
North Harrison 10 11 5 11 ‘ 37
Greenfield-Central (10-7) ‘ Farrell 9, Wise 11, Wheeler 2, Helgason 14, Real 19, Bond 3, Bradley 1, Denny 2
North Harrison (14-1) ‘ Hatton 17, Hinton 2, Burns 4, Rennirt 1, Nolot 4, Kondovski 4, Rhodes 2, Nokes 3
3-point goals ‘ Greenfield-Central 8 (Real 4, Helgason 3, Farrell); North Harrison 1 (Nokes).

Consolation Game
Plainfield 12 7 7 10 ‘ 36
Tippecanoe Valley 10 17 11 13 ‘ 51
Plainfield (12-5) ‘ Peters 2, Casteel 7, Haberkorn 6, Kendall 9, Olinger 10, O’Day 2
Tippecanoe Valley (11-3) ‘ Bussard 14, Dunn 10, Secrest 20, Brouyette 5, O’Connor 2
3-point goals ‘ Plainfield 6 (Kendall 3, Olinger 2, Casteel)

Greenfield-Central 11 13 15 9 ‘ 48
Plainfield 8 17 12 9 ‘ 46
Greenfield-Central (9-7) – Helgason 3, Wise 23, Farrell 4, Real 8, Wheeler 3, Denny 7
Plainfield (12-4) – Peters 16, Casteel 11, Haberkorn 6, Kendall 5, Olinger 5, O’Day 3
3-point goals ‘ Greenfield-Central 2 (Wise, Denny); Plainfield 4 (Peters, Casteel, Kendall, O’Day).

North Harrison 18 16 18 15 ‘ 67
Tippecanoe Valley 20 14 7 17 ‘ 58
North Harrison (14-0) ‘ Hatton 10, Hinton 6, Burns 13, Rennirt 18, Nolot 18, Chiquito 2
Tippecanoe Valley (10-3) ‘ Bussard 13, Dunn 2, Secrest 22, Brouyette 9, Miller 9, Peterson 3
3-point goals ‘ North Harrison 9 (Rennirt 3, Hinton 2, Burns 2, Nolot 2); Tippecanoe Valley 7 (Brouyette 3, Miller 3, Peterson).