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Lady Cats power past Providence

November 17, 2010
Last season, the biggest problem the North Harrison girls' basketball team had was just getting the ball to go through the basket. That problem seems to be at least partially solved as the Lady Cats put 68 points on the board in their season-opener win against visiting Providence last Tuesday night.

North Harrison’s Cassie Crawford drives against Providence’s Mackenzie Wilson in the first half of the Lady Cats’ 68-60 win. Crawford finished with 13 points. Photo by Wade Bell
"Overall, we played fairly decent," North Harrison coach Hal Pearson said. "Last year, if we got in an instance we were up five or six and they had made a run, we hit the panic button. We actually calmed back down and got what we needed tonight."

The first few minutes were a swap meet between the two teams, but then Rebekah Stephenson and Kendra Lambert drilled three-balls to push the Lady Cats in front, 15-5.

In the second period, two North Harrison turnovers allowed the Lady Pioneers, with the help of a pair of threes, to tie the game at 17.

North Harrison's Amanda Hartley and Providence junior Alex Stiner traded baskets, but Megan Neagele and Lambert ripped another pair of threes to push the Lady Cats ahead, 25-19.

North Harrison (1-0) went on an 8-4 run in the last half of the period to take a 33-24 lead to the locker room at the break.

"We got in foul trouble early, which hurt us," Pearson said. "I thought there was a couple of times, in some areas where we had 10-point leads, that we kind of let up. I was hoping we could spread it out a little more, but it didn't happen."

"We didn't attack the zone very well inside," he said. "We attacked really well when they went man inside because we got three or four straight layups off of high-low in that. We did a good job in that. We didn't get a lot of movement against the zone."

The back-and-forth runs continued in the third period as Providence closed to within a single point, 35-34, as Mary Graf buried a three.

Lambert and Cassie Crawford answered the call with threes midway through the period, and North Harrison's advantage had swelled to 43-28.

North Harrison controlled the game from that point and cruised to the 68-60 win.

"If we could have gotten (the lead) to 13 or 14, that's what we were looking at," Pearson said. "If we could have broken the 10 hump and got past that, but we never did. It was 10 then went back to five or four."

"We did a good job of turning over our offense until, finally, Lambert got off a dribble drive," he said. "We just turned a quarter and was wide open and got fouled. That was really good because we called a set play and knew, once the set play was finished, we didn't get anything out of it, the cut we were looking for. The kids did a good job executing that."

North Harrison put four players in double figures, with Lambert, a freshman, leading the way with 15 points. Crawford hit for 13 points, and Stephenson and Hayley Renneker added 12 and 11, respectively. The Lady Cats were 16 of 44 (36 percent) from the field and 29 of 41 on free throws. North Harrison committed 24 turnovers.

"It was pretty balanced," Pearson said of the scoring. "A lot of turnovers; our turnovers weren't really forced turnovers. They were just kind of mental errors, which we'll learn going to the spots we're needed at. Our press-breaker, we didn't rotate real well out of press-breaker. Sometimes we just stood, and we had a lot of turnovers just because of that."

Pearson said Lambert showed some nerves early in her first varsity outing, but they didn't last long.

"I thought, in the first quarter, you could tell she was a freshman for about two to three minutes," he said. "She didn't want the ball in her hands. Then, once she hit a three, she was OK with that, finally. She did a good job in the end. She and Crawford did a good job of getting the ball and handling it. Stephenson came in late and did a decent job. So, we showed a little poise."

Kallie Ash led Providence (0-1) with 17 points, and Leah White followed with 15. The Lady Pioneers were 17 of 53 (32 percent) from the field, as they hit just 5 of 17 threes. They canned 19 of 23 free throws and committed 17 turnovers.

"Their dribble penetration hurt us tonight," Pearson said. "We talked over and over about guarding Ash and White, just over and over. Those two girls alone shot a ton of free throws. Ash had 17 and White had 15 (points). If I look, most of those were free throws off those girls. They hardly miss, so that hurt us."

Pearson said his team is showing a lot of promise early in the season.

"We're a lot further along than where we were at this stage last year," he said. "We did a good job of attacking the press, especially the second half. Then, we calmed down. We've just got to get our confidence going."

"We had a good mix," Pearson said. "Our seniors did a good job of leading tonight. Our young people did a good job of intermixing in tonight. That's what one of the other assistants said. She said they actually gelled a lot more on the floor than I thought they would, and they did. They did a good job. There's a lot to work on, but there's a lot of promise there, too."

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