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Moore’s basket lifts NH past Charlestown

Lady Cats' win puts them in MSC lead
Moore’s basket lifts NH past Charlestown
Moore’s basket lifts NH past Charlestown
North Harrison's Ali Saunders launches a three-pointer. Saunders connected on five threes to lead the Lady Cats with 21 points in a 58-57 win at Charlestown Saturday night. Photo by Amanda Arnold
Mike Arnold, Contributing Writer

North Harrison junior Lily Moore’s field goal with 11 seconds remaining sealed a 58-57 victory for the Lady Cats Saturday night at Charlestown.

It was the second one-point win in as many nights for North Harrison, which edged Class 2A No. 4 Eastern (Pekin) 40-39 on Friday. The win improved the Lady Cats to 2-1 (2-0 Mid-Southern Conference) and put them atop the MSC standings.

Lady Cats Coach Barry Geltmaker said Moore’s basket culminated a strong fourth-quarter push that saw his team claw back into the game.

“She came in and hit a big shot for us,” said Geltmaker.

North Harrison trailed 52-45 with 4:12 to play when sophomore Diana Burgher scored the first of her three fourth-quarter field goals. On the next possession, senior center Lucy Robertson completed a three-point play to cut the margin to two, 52-50. Charlestown’s Peyton Crace then nailed a three-pointer to put the Lady Pirates ahead 55-50 at the three-minute mark. From there, North Harrison pounded the ball inside and was able to score on its next three trips (two more field goals from Burgher and another from Robertson) to take a 56-55 lead with 1:09 left.

Charlestown wasn’t done, however, as senior guard Karston Watson, who led all scorers with 22, nailed a putback with 36 seconds to play. Watson’s basket put the Lady Pirates in control 57-56 ahead of Moore’s eventual game-winner.

Charlestown knocked down 10 three-pointers in the game. Its outside shooting proved particularly troublesome for North Harrison in the second quarter, when the Lady Pirates drilled six threes, including four by Watson, on their way to a 26-22 half-time advantage.

Geltmaker said a second-half defensive focus was clamping down on the Lady Pirates’ perimeter game.

“We gave up some threes there,” he said.  “We came out and played some man to stop the three-point shooting. That seemed to bother them a little bit.”

North Harrison sophomore Ali Saunders, who paced the Lady Cats with 21, including five threes of her own, keyed a critical third-quarter scoring run that helped her team re-enter contention and drew praise from her coach.

Trailing 38-24, Saunders buried back-to-back three pointers and added a field goal to cut the margin to 38-32 and provide a much-needed spark.

“Ali Saunders brought us back there,” Geltmaker said. “Everybody chipped in after that.”

Geltmaker mentioned his team battled foul trouble and fatigue playing tough games Friday and Saturday but found a way when it counted to win the game.

“We’re getting worn down,” he said. “But, all you can ask for is to go out and play hard.”

Saunders helped the Lady Cats start the game strong. She hit two three-pointers and a field goal in the first period, as North Harrison built a 10-6 lead. North Harrison hit three foul shots to open the second period, as its lead swelled to seven, 13-6, before Charlestown heated up from long distance.

In addition to Saunders’ scoring, senior Chloe Jacobi joined her in double figures with 12 and Burgher notched eight. The Lady Cats finished 14 of 15 from the free throw line (93%) and 19 of 33 from the field for 58%. They also hit six three-pointers (6 of 13) for 46%.

North Harrison                10  12 16  20 – 58

Charlestown                      6  20 18  13 – 57

North Harrison (2-1) – Saunders 21, Jacobi 12, Burgher 8, Fulk 7, Robertson 7, Moore 2, Burns 1.

Charlestown (0-2) – Watson 22, Crace 16, King 9, Chester 5, Biscardi 3, Cochran 2.

3-point goals – North Harrison 6 (Saunders 5, Fulk 1); Charlestown 10 (Watson 6, Crace 2, Biscardi 1, Chester 1).