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Madison girls get past Lady Cats

Madison girls get past Lady Cats
Madison girls get past Lady Cats
North Harrison guard Ali Saunders dribbles around a screen set by teammate Diana Burgher during the second half.
Brian Smith, Contributing Writer

A few days prior to the final home contest of the regular season for the North Harrison girls’ basketball team, the Lady Cats learned of their upcoming sectional slate.

Hosting Madison last Tuesday, North Harrison dropped its battle 60-48. On the flip side, after the Class 3A Madison sectional draw, the Lady Cats can seek revenge as the two will square off today (Wednesday).

A lackluster start to the second half, combined with an unusually poor shooting night, hampered North Harrison. Madison scored six quick points out of the intermission, prompting the Lady Cats to play catch-up. They would get no closer than a point at the near midway part of the third quarter.

“The start of the third quarter was big,” said North Harrison coach Jamie Kolkmeier. “(Madison) went on a quick 6-0 run when we turned it over twice and got two easy layups. We sleepwalked into the second half.”

A corner triple by Lundun Perry gave Madison some momentum along with a 23-22 half-time lead. Out the gate in the third stanza, Jade Nutley scored a bucket. Then, transition field goals by Cameran Cahall pressed Madison up 29-22 in short time.

“We aren’t great defensively right now, when we were giving up layups in the third quarter,” said Kolkmeier.

North Harrison’s best run offensive play came after Madison’s blistering start. Molly Coomer netted a North Harrison shot followed by six unanswered points from the Lady Cats’ Ali Saunders. The put-back by Saunders crawled North Harrison within one, 31-30.

Nutley, a 6-foot-1 forward for Madison, got going with four of her game-high 21 points to extend her team’s lead. Diana Burgher was able to offset some of the Madison scoring with field goals, but the visitors led 43-37 after three.

North Harrison forced four Madison turnovers in the final quarter but could get no closer than seven points. Nutley, early in the fourth, netted a triple to balloon Madison’s lead to 50-40.

“We had a couple opportunities when we stole the ball, trailing six or eight points, and we didn’t convert any of the opportunities,” said Kolkmeier. “Those were huge, too. When you are down some scores, you only have so many opportunities to make runs.”

Saunders and Burgher paced North Harrison in scoring with 19 and 16 points, respectively.

Despite the scoring outputs for the duo, they struggled from the perimeter. Normally strong outside shooters, the Lady Cats were 2 of 19 as a team.

“We didn’t have a good shooting night,” said Kolkmeier. “Ali and Diana were 2 of 16 from three, which isn’t like them.”

Burgher ended the night with a double-double, pulling 11 boards while adding a pair of blocked shots. Saunders closed with four rebounds, four steals and a trio of assists. Four rebounds were also had by North Harrison’s Audrey Tucker and Coomer.

Kolkmeier said he will look forward to hopefully a better shooting night when the teams meet again.

“If you are going to beat a team that is good, when you are open, you have to knock down shots,” he said. “It sounds simple, but you have to make the easy ones. We missed some of those tonight. Credit (Madison); we didn’t have a ton of wide-open ones.”

The loss ended a seven-game win streak for North Harrison, which dropped to 12-4.

Madison                         14     9   20   17 – 60

North Harrison               13     9   15   11 – 48

Madison (10-10) – Nutley 21, Perry 18, Jay 7, Cahall 6, Traylor 6, Ferris 2.

North Harrison (12-4) – Saunders 19, Burgher 16, Coomer 8, Tucker 4, Robertson 1.

3-point goals – Madison 6 (Perry 3, Traylor 2, Nutley 1); North Harrison 2 (Burgher 1, Saunders 1).