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Floyd Central hands Lady Cats first loss

Lady Highlanders clip NH 59-58 in overtime

December 17, 2008
Floyd Central and North Harrison didn't disappoint fans expecting an exciting match-up Saturday, as the host Lady Highlanders handed the Lady Cats their first loss of the season, a 59-58 overtime barn burner. Class 3A No. 7 North Harrison dropped to 8-1, while the Lady Highlanders improved to 5-1.

"We did two or three things that could have won the ball game," North Harrison coach Hal Pearson said. "We came out in overtime the way we wanted to come out. We got the tip and scored right off the bat. It ended up six right there in a stretch, and we just let it get away from us."

North Harrison's Kacey Cox does a little thievery in the first half as she picks Floyd Central's Brigid Morrissey's pocket for a steal. North Harrison, however, saw its first loss of the season as the Lady Highlanders grabbed a 59-58 overtime win. (Photos by Wade Bell)
"This is a big win," Floyd coach Joe Voelker. "That's all you can say. … We got ourselves back in it. I can't say enough about how the kids battled."

It looked like North Harrison was going to run away with the game in the early going, taking a 14-2 lead as Floyd struggled with five turnovers. Bailey Hubert finally hit a jumper and Shelby Allen followed with a three-ball to pull the Lady Highlanders within seven. Kayla Lambert finished out the final half minute with four points and the Lady Cat lead was back to 18-7 after eight minutes.

"What I was so upset with is, our kids didn't execute the game plan the first quarter," Voelker said. "We should have started differently. We've got to send the ball inside. It never went inside. We had our post kids taking 17-foot jump shots and things they don't need to be doing."

Madison Snodgrass hit a freebie to push the Lady Cat lead to 12 early in the second period, but things turned around as Floyd rallied with a 14-0 run to lead 23-19. North Harrison finished the half with a 4-1 burst, but the Lady Highlanders went to the locker room with a 24-23 edge at the break.

"I took control the second quarter," Voelker said. "I took control of it and called something every time down, where I wanted the ball, and kind of made them chess pieces a little bit."

"Probably more than anything, we lost the basketball game in the second quarter," Pearson said. "We quit attacking and sat back and let them sit in a zone. We didn't dribble penetrate. We didn't attack the press. We didn't do anything. Late in the third quarter, when we started attacking the press again, is when we were able to be back in the game and maintain some control."

It wasn't the complete control Pearson had hoped for, however, as the lead changed four times in the third period, with Floyd holding a 38-35 lead at the close.

At right, Floyd Central's Morgan Rookstool, right, tries to keep her balance as she hovers over North Harrison's Wynn Shroyer in the second half. Rookstool later hit the winning shot for the Lady Highlanders.
Camry Hinton hit a short jumper early in the fourth for a 40-35 Floyd lead, but the Lady Cats put the pressure back on, and Wynn Shroyer swished a three at 5:43 in regulation for a 42-41 North Harrison lead.

Lambert later put North Harrison up by four with a three-ball, but Allen and Brigid Morrissey tied the game with 2:35 left. With 13 seconds left, Kacey Cox scored inside to put North Harrison on top, but Morgan Rookstool countered at :04, sending the game into overtime.

North Harrison hit its first three shots of the overtime to take a 58-52 lead, forcing Floyd to call a time-out with 1:58 left in the contest. Morrissey got a deuce-and-one and Hinton followed with two in the paint, as North Harrison's lead shrank to one.

Shroyer missed a free throw with 43 seconds left and then at :24.7, Rookstool scored what would be the winning basket. North Harrison had a chance, but turned the ball over with five seconds left, and the Lady Highlanders took the 59-58 win.

"The kids just did a nice job battling for four quarters and overtime," Voelker said. "That's what good teams do and have to do. You've got to win these kinds of games."

"Up six with a minute and a half, you think you can come out in overtime, but we made some errors that killed us," Pearson said. "We knew we were pretty compatible with them, and we said in the locker room before the game, if you look in the mirror they're pretty close to the way we are. They transition the ball pretty fast. They like to get it up and down. They switch defenses a lot. They like to press you to make dumb turnovers. There's a lot of similarities between those two. Probably the difference was the floor it was on tonight."

Jennifer Smith led the winners with 13 points, and Rookstool came off the bench for 12. Hinton followed with 10 points for the Lady Highlanders, who hit 24 of 45 field goals (53 percent) and 10 of 18 free throws. The Lady Highlanders finished with 21 turnovers.

"Our MVPs today are Shelby, Morgan and Mercades (Bierman) had a huge second quarter for us," Voelker said. "The six kids we went with the whole second quarter because of foul trouble, Jennifer, Morgan, Bailey, and then Ericka (Smith), Shelby, and Camry they did it. They just did a nice job of putting us in the basketball game.

"Rookstool hurt us," Pearson said. "She hurt us on the offside rebound. They got the three-point play late in the game."

Lambert led the Lady Cats with 19 points, and Sasha Grangier finished with 14. North Harrison connected on 20 of 41 field goals (48 percent) and 15 of 24 free throws. The Lady Cats had 17 turnovers.

"It's only a loss if you don't learn from it," Pearson said. "I think there's a lot of stuff to learn from it. The good thing I like about our team is, against a team recently that we won by about 20, there wasn't a lot of celebration. They weren't really happy because we didn't play real well that game. Today, the same thing. There was a tear or two in the locker room and we're in the ninth game of the season, so our kids understand what we're wanting this year and understand every single game is important. I think that's good."

"I really don't feel we played well today, but we competed enough possessions to win the game," Voelker said. "If we get to where we compete on every possession, we'll be very, very difficult to guard, because I feel we can score in five spots. We have to defend better in five spots. We can do the things to be pretty successful in the post season."

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The Lady Cats hosted Paoli last night (Tuesday) and will travel to Salem Thursday evening.

The Lady Highlanders will host Charlestown tonight and Evansville Harrison Saturday.

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