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Lady Cats break Jasper

Lady Cats break Jasper
Lady Cats break Jasper
North Harrison’s Chloe Jacobi (right) and Jasper’s Kylee Vaal battle for a rebound in the first half of the Lady Cats’ win over the Lady Wildcats.
Wade Bell, Clarion News

The North Harrison Lady Cats’ basketball team struggled for 16 minutes then turned things around in the second half to outgun visiting Jasper last Tuesday night. The Lady Cats’ defense turned the heat on in the second half against the Lady Wildcats and walked away with a 62-51 win.

“Turnovers are really bad, and we got really sloppy at not blocking out there for a while,” said North Harrison head coach Barry Geltmaker. “As big as we are, we ought to be outrebounding people. Against Silver Creek, we outrebounded them by 20 the other night. We need to do that every game. We need to outrebound people and put it back in.”

North Harrison threw a blitz at the Lady Wildcats to start the game, racing out to a 12-2 lead, with Ali Saunders lighting up the nets early for seven of those. Jasper regained some ground in the last two minutes of the period, getting a three-ball from Addison Hildenbrand and a deuce from Reagan Fortwendel to close the gap to five. Chloe Jacobi beat the buzzer at the end of the quarter, and North Harrison had a 14-7 lead.

Jasper missed its first two shots of the second period, then Hildenbrand fired in a three-and-one after getting fouled behind the arc. Jessica Fulk countered with a Lady Cats’ three, but Niya Zazzetti answered in the paint. The two teams traded baskets again, but Fortsendel drilled a three to keep the Lady Wildcats within three, 19-16. From there, points went back and forth with the Lady Cats holding a 28-24 edge at the end of the half.

“That half-court trap turned them over a little bit,” said Geltmaker. “They didn’t like it and didn’t adjust well with it. Then, we had to adjust a few times with them playing a zone. … That’s the first zone we’ve seen all year. We handled it halfway decent for the first time.”

Jasper turned up the volume in the third quarter. The Lady Cats started off with a 9-2 burst to lead 37-26. Jasper then made an 8-2 run to pull the Lady Wildcats within five, 39-34. Runs started going back and forth, and North Harrison answered moments later to extend the lead back to 10, 46-36, with one quarter to go.

The Lady Wildcats started the final eight minutes drilling a three-ball and deuce in a 5-0 burst, but North Harrison quickly negated that with a 7-0 run. Hildenbrand drilled a Jasper three, but North Harrison countered with seven to push the Lady Cats’ lead back to double digits. The Lady Cats controlled from that point and went on to get a 62-51 win.

“We talked about getting it to the high post and running it off that instead of what we were doing before,” said Geltmaker. “I said it was the first time we’ve seen a zone in a while. We got it to the high post, and they kicked it either left or right or down underneath. We caught people underneath and scored. We caught Beyerle once under there, and caught Diana (Burgher) a couple of times under there. It just works better. When Lucy (Robertson) gets the ball in the high post, she keeps it high and the guards are not going to get it.”

Saunders led the Lady Cats with 19 and Burgher followed with 16 points. North Harrison canned 23 of 55 field goals (42%) and 13 of 19 free throws. The Lady Cats finished with 18 turnovers, 12 of those in the first half.

“We threw it away a lot the first half,” said Geltmaker. “Our goal was to keep it under 15, but I didn’t tell them which half, I guess. Our goal was to keep it under 15 for the whole game, and they had 12 right off the bat. We’ve got to cut down on that. I told them, ‘You don’t know how good you could be if you quit turning the ball over. We do some good things sometimes but when you turn it over it doesn’t look good’.”

“Diana had a really good game tonight, and she sat out for a quarter and a half at least,” he said. “She played well. Ali was a little bit off tonight, but she played well. She has to handle the ball so you can’t say much about that.”

“I think we got some good bench play tonight, too,” he said. “We got a lot of rest for Lucy and them. Beyerle played a lot. Skylie Burns played good. She didn’t do anything to kill us. She didn’t score, but she did everything we asked her to do. Moore came in and hit a shot or two. We’ve got to have that. We’ve got to have a bench, and we’re working on that.”

Brooke Nottingham led the Lady Wildcats with 22 for the night, and Claire Knies finished with 13. Jasper was 20 of 48 (42%) from the field and 3 of 5 from the charity stripe. The Lady Wildcats also had 18 turnovers.

“She lit us up last year really bad down there,” Geltmaker said of Nottingham. “We tried to get out on her, and she shot some long threes tonight. She hit a couple there late that put their total up a little bit. She had 20-something last year against us. She’s tough. She’s quick and can shoot the ball.”

The Lady Cats improved their record to 5-2 for the early part of the season, but Geltmaker said their best game still has yet to be found.

“Our goal was to keep them from having eight offensive rebounds, and we were supposed to get 10 or more,” said the North Harrison coach. “We were probably close on that. At one point of the game, we gave them a couple.”

“I like us getting the ball inside, and we’re using our height a little bit. We’re passing the ball a little bit better than we had been. We’re starting to think a little bit of what we’re trying to do instead of just running around and throwing it around and shooting. I think we’re trying to do what we’re telling them. Our defense was pretty good most of the night.

“People don’t understand when you have somebody tall you have to shoot it a little bit higher. That messes you up some. I think that does bother people a little bit, as long as we don’t get in foul trouble and we can keep the big people out there.”


Jasper                                                          7  17 12  15 – 51

North Harrison                                          14  14 18  16 – 62

Jasper (1-3) – Nottingham 22, Knies 13, Shelton 8, Schwenk 4, Sermersheim 4.

North Harrison (5-2) – Saunders 19, Burgher 16, Robertson 9, Jacobi 8, Fulk 5, Beyerle 3, Moore 2.

3-point goals – Jasper 4 (Nottingham 3, Knies 1); North Harrison 3 (Saunders 2, Fulk 1).