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Lady Cats upend Providence 38-25

by Wade Bell, Sports Writer

The North Harrison girls’ basketball team played its first full game without the services of senior standout Ali Saunders on Thursday night. Saunders was out sick, so the Lady Cats had to readjust their game plan against visiting Providence.
For a quarter, it looked like it was going to be a tussle between the two teams; but in the end, it was the Lady Cats who prevailed with a 38-25 win.
“She wasn’t feeling good today so you just adjust,” said North Harrison girls’ coach Jamie Kolkmeier. “That’s sports. You’ve got to make the next play … With Ali out, we’re only going to score with good player movement and with good ball movement. We’re going to lack that person who can create their own shots. But you can still find ways to get things done, and we’ve just got to do that.”
The first quarter should have been played to the tune of Petula Clark’s song “Downtown” because that’s where all of the shots came from. Providence’s Lillie Weber began the night with a three-ball that was quickly followed with a three from North Harrison’s Madi Clunie. Anna Rodewig then threw in back-to-back threes for a 9-3 Lady Pioneers’ lead.
North Harrison’s Diana Burgher and Providence’s Maci Hoskins traded shots from behind the arc, then Burgher converted a three off a Providence turnover, closing the gap to three, 12-9.
The first deuce of the night came when Lady Cats junior Chloe Shewmaker scored inside. Moments later, Audrey Tucker put in a freebie, and the game was tied at 12 at the end of the period.
“We didn’t get off to a super start,” said Kolkmeier. “We didn’t cover the three very well. They hit five baskets that first half and four of those came in the first quarter. They had seven wide-open attempts and they hit five of them, so we’ve got to do a little bit better job guarding the perimeter.”
Both teams struggled from the field during the first three minutes of the second quarter, then the game went downtown again with Clunie and Hoskins trading threes. Those were Providence’s only points of the period, while North Harrison followed with six, Burgher getting five of those for a 21-15 Lady Cats’ lead at halftime.
“We do have to get a little better perimeter shooting,” Kolkmeier said. “Madi Clunie got us going. We wouldn’t have scored early, but she hits two threes and she had been shooting it poorly. To her credit, she got in here last night after practice, got with coach (Alan) Reed and focused on her shot, and she comes out tonight and hits her first two threes. She hit one in the JV game. So, a little extra work can help you.”
Burgher scored in the paint to begin the second half, but Weber and Hoskins followed with a deuce and three-ball to close the gap back to three.
The North Harrison defense contained Providence from that point in the period and ran off a 9-0 run for a 32-20 lead with one quarter to go.
Both teams came up dry through the first two minutes of the fourth quarter, then Tucker drilled a North Harrison three for a 35-20 lead. The Lady Cats followed that with three free throws as the clock started to wind down.
Providence scored five but it was too late, and North Harrison got the 38-25 win.
“They didn’t make perimeter shots, and we had a couple of people make some,” Kolkmeier said. “The first half we had Madi and Diana make some shots. That was about it. We were just able to get a few turnovers from them and get them out of rhythm, and that created some advantages for us where we had a little easier scores to where we weren’t playing five on five all of the time.”
Burgher led the Lady Cats with 20 points for the night. North Harrison put in 11 of 30 field goals (37%) and 7 of 13 free throws. The Lady Cats had 17 turnovers for the game.
“Right now as we move forward, at various points we’ve had different girls step up and give us a good night,” said the North Harrison coach. “I thought Chloe Shewmaker stepped up and had a good night. Diana had a pretty good night. It’s hard because she had so much more stressed upon her tonight and so much more responsibility in her role. I thought she came out after a kind of a slow start, she got into that and got us going there in the second quarter and was able to hit two big buzzer beaters in the second and third quarters. Meg Marinc had a good fourth quarter there for us. It was just finding who was going to be that solid rotation for us. It’s that time of year, and we’ve got to look for that.”
Hoskins led the Lady Pioneers with 12 points, hitting four times from behind the arc. Providence put in 9 of 27 shots from the field (33%) with seven of those coming from downtown. The Pioneers never got to the free-throw line and had 16 turnovers.
“We’re not a pressure team because we don’t have great quickness,” said Kolkmeier. “We went to a half-court trap for a while because we had to speed them up a little bit. They were kind of grinding some time away, and I don’t know if we were necessarily trying to wear them down. We were trying to maybe create a pace to maybe make them a little less comfortable. To their advantage, they’ve got some ball handlers but they don’t have great lengths, so we wanted to make it harder for them to pass it around.”
Kolkmeier said there is still work to do with his team, especially on defense.
“We’ve got to learn to play against zones a little bit and work on some zone stuff,” said the North Harrison coach. “Tonight, they were box-and-one-ing Diana for a little bit, get people moving into positions where they’ve got to be more aggressive than they were in the past and still playing smart.
“We rushed a few times tonight when we had a lead and we probably should have made that extra pass,” he said. “I think if we learn to make that extra pass, then we’ll get a few more open shots. The girls have got to think they can do things. Good players on good teams are always confident, so they’ve got to play hard enough to make enough plays to become confident.”

Providence 12 3 5 5 – 25
North Harrison 12 9 11 6 – 38
Providence – Hoskins 12, Rodewig 6, Weber 5, Simmons 2.
North Harrison – Burgher 20, Clunie, 6 Shewmaker 5, Marinc 3, Tucker 3, Pearson 1.
3-pointers – Providence 7 (Hoskins 4, Rodewig 2, Weber 1); North Harrison 4 (Burgher 3, Shewmaker 1).