Lady Cats’ baskets hard to come by over Providence
George Browning, Sports Writer, [email protected]
On the surface, last Thursday’s Providence versus North Harrison girls’ basketball game looked like a defensive battle that ended with the Lady Cats winning 46-35. In actuality, it was more likely bad offense.
North Harrison coach Barry Geltmaker agreed it was the latter.
“We finally started hitting some shots there toward the end of the game,” he said. “We just struggled early and couldn’t make a shot. We played pretty good defense; we held them to 15 points in the first half, but we couldn’t make shots.”
At different times of the game, the Lady Cats managed to build small leads and, each time, the Lady Pioneers would battle back.
Diana Burgher scored four quick points for North Harrison, and Ali Saunders added a basket out of the gate that gave them a 6-0 lead just one minute into the game.
That would be all the scoring for a while as the Lady Cats went the next 6:15 without a basket.
Addison Beyerle grabbed two offensive rebounds on one possession that eventually led to a basket by Saunders, ending the drought and putting North Harrison up 8-3.
Providence got a basket by Brigid Welch, who also made one of two free throws that were answered by a three from Saunders, putting NHHS up 11-6 heading into the second.
The Lady Pioneers continued to chip away at the lead in the second quarter.
Burgher put the Lady Cats up 13-6 with a basket, and PHS responded with a 7-0 run with Natalie Boesing scoring six of those points.
A free throw by Welch pulled Providence even, 13-all, with 3:11 remaining in the first half.
The two teams traded empty possessions before North Harrison went back in front, thanks to a three by Jessica Fulk and a steal and basket by Saunders that put them up 18-13.
Welch hit two free throws for the Lady Pioneers to trim the deficit to three at the half, 18-15.
The Lady Cats started the second half the way they did the first. They used an 8-0 run through the first four minutes of the third quarter to build an 11-point lead, 26-15. Saunders hit a three during the stretch, and Lucy Robertson scored a basket in the paint. The other three points were scored by Chloe Jacobi.
Four points by Boesing got the Lady Pioneers to within seven, 26-19, but they never got any closer.
Beyerle hit one of two free throws, and Jacob scored again putting North Harrison up 10, 29-19, heading into the final eight minutes.
Jacobi scored six of her nine points, and Saunders scored six of her game-high 18 points in the fourth quarter to end any thoughts of a Providence comeback.
One of the reasons the Lady Cats were able to open things up actually came as the result of misfortune. Burgher had to leave the game with a knee injury, and Robertson, who is 6-foot 3 took a breather. The smaller lineup seemed to confuse the Lady Pioneers’ defense and that helped open things up for Jacobi and others.
“We went to the smaller lineup and started to make some outside shots,” Geltmaker said. “That forced them to come out on us and opened up some passing lanes that allowed us to get some things going inside.”
Saunders hit four threes in the game, and Geltmaker said she had been struggling going into the Providence game from the outside.
“Ali needs just needs to get ready to get the ball because, when she is set, she is pretty deadly,” Geltmaker said. “The shots are starting to fall again for her. It sure does help things in every area when shots start to fall.”
Jacobi also drew praise from her coach.
“It was probably one of Chloe Jacobi’s best games all year,” Geltmaker said. “She played really well. She caught the ball and was looking to score. She hadn’t been doing that, but tonight she put it on the floor a couple of times and laid it in. She also rebounded, and she always does a good job of that for us.”
North Harrison improved to 11-4 and will now enter into a three-game stretch that will go a long way in determining if the Lady Cats can remain in the hunt for a Mid-Southern Conference title.
North Harrison is 4-1 in the MSC, which puts them in a tie with Salem for third. Brownstown and Silver Creek are currently tied for first place. The Lady Cats’ final game of the regular season will be Thursday, Jan. 30, at home against Brownstown.
North Harrison’s next game will be tomorrow (Thursday) against visiting Austin.
Providence 6 9 4 16 – 35
North Harrison 11 7 11 17 – 46
Providence (8-7) – Natalie Boesing 16, Brigid Welch 11, Kaylee Kaiser 8.
North Harrison (11-4) – Ali Saunders 18, Chloe Jacobi 9, Lucy Robertson 7, Diana Burgher 6, Jessica Fulk 3, Maddie Messick 2, Addison Beyerle 1.
3-point goals – Providence 2 (Kaylee Kaiser 2); North Harrison 5 (Saunders 4, Fulk 1).