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North Harrison’s Kelsey Brunner passes the ball around a defender into the post against Brownstown Central. Photo by Brian Smith

Lady Braves outlast NH

February 03, 2010
On senior night Thursday, North Harrison rallied in the second quarter to lead visiting Class 2A No. 11 Brownstown Central through much of the second and third quarters. Yet, it was the start and the finish of the game that went the way of the Lady Braves taking a 68-53 victory over North Harrison.

"We played a lot better for about a three-quarter stretch," North Harrison coach Hal Pearson said. "We still had them at a four-point lead with four minutes to go. We just had a long stretch where we just didn't hit much. We got some good looks at the basket; they just didn't fall. We got a little tired and struggled to put them in."

Scoring points for both teams was rather easy in the first quarter. Brownstown raced out to a 20-11 lead, thanks to Taylor Fleetwood's six points. North Harrison closed the first quarter strong, using a 3-pointer from Cassie Crawford to close the gap to 24-18.

"Later in the game, we were doing the right things defensively," Pearson said. "I just think, in the first quarter, we just weren't mentally ready. It did get better in covering diagonal (passes) much better. That first quarter was rough. Brownstown made a lot of shots, but several were on offensive put-backs."

North Harrison (6-12, 3-4) charged back in the second quarter to eventually take the lead. Senior Deidre Book scored three steals in the quarter. The first two resulted in four Book points. Midway through, fellow senior Caitlyn Janes hit a pair of field goals to tie the game at 29. North Harrison saw its first lead when Crawford nailed a three-pointer, set up by Book's third steal. The score put North Harrison up 36-33 at the half.

"Deidre was able to get deflections, sitting at the top of the zone," Pearson said. "I think that made Brownstown a little more tentative throwing the ball over the zone and allowed us to limit their chances."

Brownstown Central (16-3, 6-1) scored the first four points of the third quarter to regain the lead. However, three-pointers from senior Kelsey Brunner and Book kept the Lady Cats forging ahead. The Lady Braves closed the third period with a Kaylee Bennett put-back to go up 45-44.

The lead ballooned to 51-44 in the third quarter, but free throws from Janes and a trey from Brunner trimmed the lead back to 53-49 with four minutes to play.

Brownstown Central then chugged away for a 7-0 run to put the game away.

"When we went to press, (Maria) Allen could just dribble right through us," Pearson said of the Lady Braves' point guard. "Up to that point, we were in the game. We definitely gave ourselves a chance to win this one. Really, we are focusing on playing well each night, which is something we did, even though we came out with a loss."

Overall, Pearson was happy with the bounce back after losing a pair of games the previous week.

"Tonight, against a team like this, to play well is showing we can come back and play well," he said. "I was proud of our seniors tonight. It was their night, and they all contributed on the floor and did things well. I was glad to see that happen."

Fellow senior Vicky Summers was recognized with Janes, Brunner and Book prior to the contest.

Janes led the Lady Cats in scoring with 13 points, and Amanda Hartley contributed 11. Crawford added 10 points, and Brunner had nine.

Katelyn Shoemaker led Brownstown Central with 17 points.

North Harrison closes the regular season tomorrow (Thursday) when it travels to Eastern (Pekin) at 7:30 p.m.

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