The North Decatur girls basketball team has won three straight games and improved to 5-1 in the conference with a 48-44 road win Tuesday over Hauser.
The Lady Chargers (10-7) have won four of their last five games, and five of their past seven. North has matched last year’s win total with three games remaining this season.
Head coach Brad Bryant advised his team that Hauser would still be a challenge despite its 6-10 record.
“I made the comment to the girls after the game last night, that I know Hauser’s not an Indian Creek,” said Bryant, “but I don’t think their record is indicative of how their team is. They made some changes in recent weeks. They’re starting two freshman, two sophomore and two seniors, and those kids are really, nice players. Since they’ve made those changes, they’ve become a much better more competitive team. It was going to be a battle from start to finish, and it would be the kind of game we’d have to scratch and claw to get everything we wanted to get.”
North’s biggest lead was 17-12 in the first half, but Hauser came back and led by as much as four midway through the fourth quarter.
Bryant saw his team overcome a sub-par effort at the foul line (18-for-40), despite shooting in the mid-60 percent range on the season.
“Most years, most coaches can live with that as a team,” he said. “You’d like to see yourselves be around 70 percent. If you get to the line a lot, you’re going to give yourself a chance to win games.”
North hit them when it mattered, though, making its last five attempts. Freshman Mary Hughes connected on the last four of the game.
“The difference was that Hauser was 5-for-10,” said Bryant. “We were struggling from start to finish at the foul line. It got in our heads a little bit. We hit them when it mattered. In the fourth quarter, we definitely shot well.”
North excelled against Hauser’s defensive press throughout the night, enabling the visitors to come back in the fourth quarter.
“Hauser is very quick and they wanted to press us,” said Bryant. “We did an excellent job of beating their press, and got excellent layups against their press. They went away from it and went back to it late in the game, when we made our free throws.”
Leslie Sims, Hauser’s freshman point guard who is quick off the dribble, scored six points in the first quarter. Bryant credited North senior Cindy Krieger for entering off the bench and holding Sims scoreless for the next two quarters. Sims ended up with 10 points, and just two against Krieger.
“We did a good job defensively,” said Bryant. “A real big key for us was Cindy Krieger’s defense. Cindy did a real nice job of defending her and made things difficult for her. She’s a good spark for us off the bench. She plays hard, and the thing I like about Cindy is she has fun playing the game.”
Unofficially, senior Jenna Meyer led North with 18 points. Despite feeling ill, according to Bryant, junior Andrea Volk added 10 points.
“The first two three’s she took were nothing but the bottom of the net,” he said.
Junior Anna Wallpe scored six and Hughes added five. All scoring totals were unofficial.
North now holds sole possession of second place.
“With a little luck and if someone knocks off Indian Creek, we can finish tied for first place if we win our last two MHC games,” said Bryant. “We just need to take care of our own business and we have two big conference games left. It would be nice to finish 7-1 in the conference.”
North hosts Franklin County tonight (Thursday) for a makeup game from Dec. 28.
North JV girls fall
The North junior varsity Lady Chargers lost the first game 30-24. North led 4-3 after the first stop, but Hauser’s 12-3 run gave it a 15-7 halftime lead. North held an 11-4 third-quarter advantage and trailed just 19-18 after three stops, but the Jets outscored North 11-6 to win.
Alison Wallpe led her team with 11 points. Erin Yager scored six, Morgan Nobbe added three, and chipping in two apiece were Sam Krieger and Ashlin Weintraut.
Contact Nick Gonnella at (812) 663-3111, x7003.