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North Harrison’s Brittany Knight and South Central’s Maddison O’Connor put themselves in knots as the pair fight for a loose ball. Photo by Wade Bell

North Harrison pounds Lady Rebs

December 12, 2012
The North Harrison Lady Cats came into their game against visiting South Central last Wednesday after a loss to Hoosier Hills powerhouse Columbus East a few days before. It wasn't a loss that coach Missy Voyles wasn't disappointed in, however, because her team had lost by just a single point and brought the Lady Cats' confidence up to a level where it needed to be.

"I just thought we played smart," Voyles said. "I want them to have to come out every night and play well to win. I don't want them to be able to come out and play poorly and still win the ballgame. I don't think that helps prepare you for tournament."

"They had to come out against Columbus East and play well and, if you don't play well, you're not going to be in the game," she said. "They played well the whole game, and they had opportunities. We had a couple of lapses that, had we not had those, we would have won that game. Putting ourselves in a position to win a big game like that, that was huge for us because we have not played smart basketball. That was a good solid game."

The Lady Cats' newly found confidence proved to be the Lady Rebels' undoing as North Harrison disposed of South Central 65-35.

"I wanted to see us get out and play aggressively consistently," Voyles said. "We tend to play in spurts, and we fall apart for a while and then we have to pull it back together. So, we're trying to put together a focus and just being competitive the whole time we're on the floor and not kind of drifting off and kind of forgetting what you're supposed to be doing and missing a block-out assignment or getting lost in your offense. Just trying to be more organized."

North Harrison put the heat on early as South Central turned the ball over nine times in the first period. The Lady Cats had a few more turnovers than they would have liked with five but cut that down in the second period. North Harrison led 19-10 then outscored the Lady Rebels, 17-8, in the second period for a 36-18 advantage at halftime. Voyles said she wasn't completely happy with her team's defense.

"We weren't where we were supposed to be part of the time," she said. "We're doing better. We're getting better at evenly stance and being help-side, moving with the ball instead of watching it go over your head. We're being a little more active, defensive players."

South Central missed its first five field goals of the second half, while North Harrison began the third period with a 16-0 run to lead 52-18. The Lady Rebels had a better fourth quarter but nothing near enough as the Lady Cats went on for the 65-35 win.

"We needed to win a game," Voyles. "It's been a long stretch there playing some tough teams."

Kendra Lambert led North Harrison with 20 points, and Jill Book followed with 18. Shayla Neal came off the bench for 11 for the Lady Cats. North Harrison was 23 of 50 (46 percent) from the field and hit 14 of 18 free throws. Turnovers was still a thorn with the Lady Cats giving up the ball 20 times.

"Early on, (South Central coach Randall Schoen) was in a triangle and two (against Book and Lambert) there for a little while, maybe a little bit of box-and-one, they kind of lost (Book) a few times," Voyles said. "That got her a couple of easy buckets."

Voyles said Neal, while just a freshman, is growing to become a valuable asset for the team.

"I like how when I yell at her she just turns and gives me two thumbs up," Voyles said. "I have half the team scared of me and she turns and thumbs up ... One night she won't be with it as (much as) others, but you can never fault her for not playing hard. She gets after it. I think she's going to be a pretty special player by the time she graduates."

Kelsey Miller led South Central with nine points for the game. The Lady Rebels hit 12 of 35 field goals (34 percent) and 4 of 7 free throws. South Central finished with 28 turnovers.

North Harrison's schedule doesn't get any easier in the second half of the season, and Voyle's players will have to look to playing even smarter.

"Understanding your teammates, knowing when they want the ball and when not to throw the ball, like throwing to Kacey (Kelley) on the move in center court in transition, that's not a smart basketball play," Voyles said.

"We love to throw the ball to (guard) Kim Chiquito in the post, that is our favorite post pass," the coach said. "She's open down there because she cuts better than everybody else. Don't put it in her hands if she's got a 6-foot person standing behind her. But just learning your teammates and learning when to get the ball to them and what spots to get the ball to them, just being more intelligent about what we're doing offensively."

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