-Davenport’s effort not enough to get Lumpkin past North Hall
Sophomore Isabel Davenport’s sensational 24-point performance against North Hall wasn’t enough to help the LCHS varsity girls basketball team pull out a victory versus the Lady Trojans when the two squads squared off for a conference game at the Longhouse at the LCHS gymnasium on Friday, Jan. 4.
“I don’t want to take any credit away from North Hall, but very simple first month things like running our press break correctly we didn’t do,” said LCHS head girls basketball coach David Dowse. “We should be able to, with as few players as we have, have interchangeable parts and be able to plug someone in and still have everyone know how to run our schemes correctly.”
The Lady Trojans got out to a solid start in the first quarter, jumping out to a 5-0 advantage before Davenport nailed a three-pointer for Lumpkin’s first basket of the game. North Hall continued to build to 10-3 before the Lady Indians’ offense began to get a rhythm. Despite Lumpkin closing the gap, the Lady Trojans were blistering hot from beyond the arc and earned a 19-11 advantage at the end of the first quarter thanks in large part to five made threes.
Once the Lady Trojans got hot from behind the three-point line it seemed like they couldn’t miss. The Lady Indians struggled to keep tabs on the open player for North Hall in its zone defense and the Lady Trojans made them pay. North Hall outscored the Lady Indians 17-8 in the second quarter to take a 36-19 halftime lead. The Lady Trojans nailed eight three-pointers in the half.
Davenport led the Lady Indians in first half scoring with nine points, all three-pointers.
Mackenzie Pulley followed behind Davenport with five first half points while Clara White added three points and Makenzie Caldwell contributed two points.
In the second half, Dowse switched to man-to-man and moved Ashlynn Wistoski to the top of the key on defense to try and slow the North Hall attack.
The strategy worked, as the Lady Indians slowly started chipping away at the North Hall lead. However, with 55.2 seconds remaining in the third quarter, Wistoski went down after an apparent knee injury and was helped off of the court. The senior did not return to action in the game.
“It was a big loss for us,” Dowse said. “She has really been one of our best defenders this season, so hopefully we can get her back on the court again soon. But, until then it is next man up. That’s why they all practice, that’s why they all get reps. Everybody deals with injury, so we can’t use that as an excuse.”
The Lady Indians closed the gap to 47-32 by the end of the quarter.
Davenport stepped up and made some huge shots for the Lady Indians in the final quarter of play. The stellar performance by Davenport helped the Lady Indians cut the North Hall lead to six points, but the sophomore’s efforts proved to be not enough for Lumpkin to complete the comeback.
In the end, the Lady Trojans held on to take the game by a final score of 58-48.
North Hall knocked down 12 three-pointers in the contest and forced Lumpkin to turn the ball over 17 times in the game to capture the victory.
The turnovers were a concern for Dowse.
“It always comes down to decisions,” Dowse said. “Sometimes we were impatient and forced the ball. But, really what killed us was our defensive mentality. We weren’t locked in from the start. It wasn’t that we didn’t talk about what they were going to do. We knew who their top shooter was and what they wanted to run. We just weren’t locked in at the beginning and that really put us in a hole.”
Davenport led the Lady Indians with her 24 points. Davenport also pulled down five rebounds in the game and had three assists and a steal. Davenport knocked down seven three-pointers in the loss. The usually quiet sophomore more than once showed emotion on the court in an effort to rally her team.
“She really kept us in the game,” Dowse said of Davenport’s performance. “She’s got that ability in her. She’s very quiet, but very bright. She’s got the leadership quality. It’s good for our team when she’s vocal like that. It’s good for our team when she shows a little bit of emotion. We need that from her more than ever if Wistoski is out for awhile.”
Pulley completed the game with a double-double. The senior finished the game with 12 points, despite having an off night shooting, and 12 rebounds. Pulley also recorded four assists in the loss.
Caldwell rounded out the top three scorers for the Lady Indians with eight points. Caldwell had difficulty defending North Hall, and was unable to break down the Lady Trojans’ passing lanes as she has done with other teams this season. Despite the off-night defensively, Caldwell still managed to record three steals versus North Hall.
The loss dropped the Lady Indians’ overall record to 13-4 and their region record to 2-4, putting them in fifth place in the Region 7-AAA standings.
The Lady Indians will step back onto the hardwood when they travel to Cherokee Bluff to take on the Lady Bears in a Region 7-AAA matchup this Friday, Jan. 11. Tip off is scheduled for 7 p.m.
The Lady Indians will have a quick turn around after their game versus Cherokee Bluff. Lumpkin will face off with the White County Lady Warriors Saturday, Jan. 12, for a non-conference matchup. Tip off is scheduled for 6 p.m.
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