Lady Cats stay in the hunt for conference title with win over Austin
George Browning, Sports Writer, [email protected]
A close contest became a 62-39 blowout, thanks a third-quarter explosion by the North Harrison Lady Cats against visiting Austin on Thursday.
“We turned up the heat in the second half,” said North Harrison coach Barry Geltmaker. “We went to a half-court trap, and that bothered Austin and allowed us some opportunities to get out and run.”
North Harrison had a five-point, 28-23, lead at halftime, and the Eagles got to within two after Hannah Beck hit three free throws after being fouled while shooting behind the arc. Beck’s basket made the score, 30-28.
The Lady Cats answered with a free throw by Ali Saunders and then scored eight points in a row. During the spurt, North Harrison got baskets by Saunders, Skylie Burns, Lucy Robertson and Maddie Messick.
The run forced Austin to call a timeout, and they came within a point when Beck hit one of two free throws. Her point may have paused the Lady Cats’ onslaught but it didn’t stop it.
Robertson scored again, this time off an offensive rebound, and then hit a shot after making a move in the post. Saunders, who led all scorers with 19 points, converted an and-one opportunity, and the North Harrison advantage was 15 with 3:07 remaining in the third quarter.
Addison Beyerle and Saunders each scored again, and the Lady Cats’ lead heading into the fourth quarter was 18, 50-32.
Chloe Jacobi scored eight of her 16 points in the early part of the fourth quarter, helping the Lady Cats keep their foot on the gas pedal.
Robertson was the third Lady Cat in double figures, contributing 12 points, and Burns added nine.
“Skylie played really well and was looking to attack, and we hadn’t had that from her all year,” Geltmaker said. “Jacobi was looking to attack, as well. Saunders did her normal thing, and Lucy did what she did. When we have two others attacking, it helps us quite a bit.”
Geltmaker’s comment about Saunders was in reference to a number of moves she made, including a jab step that fooled her defender and left her wide open for a three. He has been around the sophomore for a number of years, but said she still amazes him with some of the things she does on a basketball court.
“Ali is not the fastest person in the world, but she always manages to get open,” he said. “It’s amazing to me how she continues to get open shots. I coached eighth grade for a while and I had her, and she lives across the street from me, so I see her playing quite a bit. She always has a basketball in her hands and shooting. She is not just a shooter though; she seems to get her hand on every ball and she sees the floor really well.”
North Harrison had a strong first quarter. A three by Saunders and a basket by Jacobi off an assist from Robertson gave North Harrison an advantage, 6-4.
Robertson scored again, Saunders hit another three and then a basket by Burns put North Harrison on top, 13-4.
Austin scored, but Robertson answered with another two in the paint that put the Lady Cats on top 15-7 late in the first quarter.
Another three by Saunders was answered with a 5-0 run by the Lady Eagles that made the deficit 18-12 heading into the second quarter.
The second period played out much like the first with North Harrison maintaining a lead. Jacobi grabbed an offensive rebound and was fouled going up for the put-back. She didn’t make the basket but did hit the two free throws and then added a basket that kept the Lady Cats up by five.
Two more free throws by Jacobi and baskets by Saunders and Robertson stretched North Harrison’s lead to 11 with just more than two minutes remaining in the first half.
Austin went on a 6-0 run with baskets by Grace Igleheart and Ashlynn Satterwhite and two free throws by Misti Kimberlin. The Lady Eagles’ run set up the five-point half-time deficit.
North Harrison was back in action Saturday and rolled to a 68-30 win over Clarksville that improved the Lady Cats’ record to 13-5 overall and kept them in a three-way tie for the lead in the Mid-Southern Conference with a 6-1 record. Salem is also 6-1, and Brownstown leads the way with a 7-1 record.
The Lady Cats need one more win against Corydon Central (game was last night, Tuesday) to set up a regular-season finale against Brownstown on Thursday, Jan. 30.
The goal of a conference championship is still in reach.
Austin 12 11 9 7 – 39
North Harrison 18 10 22 12 – 62
Austin (7-13, 2-6 MSC) – Hannah Beck 10, Grace Igleheart 8, Misti Kimberlin 6, Sarah Robbins 6, Ashlynn Satterwhite 6, Jalen Coomer 3.
North Harrison (13-5, 6-1) – Ali Saunders 19, Chloe Jacobi 16, Lucy Robertson 12, Skylie Burns 9, Addison Beyerle 2, Maddie Messick 2, Emma Robertson 2.
3-point goals – Austin 3 (Robbins 2, Coomer 1); North Harrison 3 (Saunders 3).