|EHS girls taking it to the ‘Bank’|
Semi State puts EHS
Junior Rachel Stewart said the three losses opened their eyes to their lack of finishing games and plays and seemed to be a wake up call.
“We lost three games, but they were all competitive against really good teams,” Stewart said. “We lost those three games because we weren’t finishing and that sent a message to us as a team that we had to step up our game, get better and start finishing.
“The next week we worked on finishing and keeping our cool in tight situations.”
Since then, finishing hasn’t been a problem and certainly wasn’t in Saturday’s win.
After building up an 18-point lead in the first half Saturday hang on is exactly what they did.
Stewart, who finished the game with 34 points, hit a number of key free throws down the stretch. She said as she stepped to the line she was aware of what was at stake.
“I was thinking, ‘I have to make these, not only for me, but for our team and our entire community!’” she said. “I practice free throws a lot and I just focused on doing what I always do.”
For the first 20 minutes of Saturday’s contest it was hard to imagine that the outcome would come down to free throws as Eastern dominated play on both ends of the court.
With the score tied at 2-all, the Lady Musketeers went on a 10-2 run in the first quarter to take control of the contest.
A three from Veronica Judson off an assist by Taylor Drury started the spurt.
Drury drained a three at the top of the key and Stewart scored four points and missed an and-one opportunity that put her team up 12-4.
Covenant Christian answered the run with five consecutive points of their own, but Eastern again responded.
Freshman Isabell Claywell hit a two in the lane, Stewart scored again and another three by Drury extended the EHS lead to 10, 19-9 at the end of the first quarter.
Stewart scored seven points to open the second quarter and Drury added six and the Lady Musketeers were up 18, 32-145.
Covenant’s Bailey Everett tried to stop the bleeding. She attacked the basket and earned a trip to the free throw line on three consecutive possessions for ther team.
She hit six out of six free throws to tighten the score to 14, 32-18.
After another Stewart basket, CC got to within 13, 34-21 with Rebecca Schrad hit a three.
Drury and Stewart both scored again before the half and Eastern was on top by 15, 38-23.
Lady Musketeer Head Coach Mike McBride said he reminded his team in the locker room that the clock was their friend with a big lead.
“I told them we needed to make sure we were working to get the best shot we can get,” he said. “We started to hurry and jusst make one or two passes instead of working the ball side to side. The first four minutes of the third we still had a sizeable lead, but about midway through the third quarter we started to speed up and that didn’t play into our favor.”
Eastern’s Savannah Emmert hit a basket to start the third quarter and a three by Stewart extended the EHS lead back to 16, 43-27.
Baskets on back-to-back possessions again cut in to the Eastern lead and pulled them to within 12, 43-31.
Just like they had all day, Eastern had an answer. This time it came in the form of another three by Judson.
Another basket by Stewart stretched the lead back to 16, 49-33.
Everett answered with a three of her own for CC.
Her basket sparked an 11-0 run to end the third quarter and cut Eastern’s once sizeable lead to four, 49-44.
Everett opened the fourth with another two that came off a steal and the Warriors seemed to have all the momentum on their side trailing by two, 49-47.
“We just didn’t do a very good job on several possessions in a row of working the offense,” McBride said. “We got quick shots and gave them chances to score. Once they (Covenant Christian) started making shots they got confidence and momentum. We had to maintain pace and keep it where we wanted it.”
Drury stopped the 12-0 run by hitting one of two free throws and after a steal by Judson, Stewart converted an and-one opportunity to stretch the lead back to six, 53-47.
The two teams went back and fourth from there.
Eastern hit free thows late to finish the game and extended their season one more game.
In addition to her 34 points, Stewart was 11 of 13 from the floor and hit 10 of 15 free throws. She also had five rebounds, two assists, three steals and didn’t turn the ball over.
Prior to the season, McBride hinted that this team had the potential to be special and he is glad they have proven him right.
“Getting to state is always a goal for me,” McBride said. “You have to play it game by game, but when I said this team had a chance to be special, this is what I meant. Our goals are always more than a sectional championship. That’s an important goal, because it’s the first step and you can’t get to this point without winning that. We still have the mindset and belife we are good enough to get her. Now we are getting the opportunity to prove it, and we are going to give it everything we’ve got next week.”
Everything they have accomplished to this point started with learning how to finish.
Their final opportunity to do that will be Saturday at 12:45 p.m. at Banker’s Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis against Oak Hill.
Tickets will be on sale this week at the school for $15. Exact details were not available at press time, but be sure to check Green Banner Publication’s facebook page and visit us on the web at www.gbpnews.com for up to the minute information.
EHS 19 19 11 16--65
CC 9 14 22 14--59
Eastern: Veronica Judson 10 points, six rebounds, two steals; Taylor Drury, 15 points, four rebounds, two assists, one steal; Holly Purlee two points, two steals; Rachel Stewart 34 points, five rebounds, 2 assists and three steals; Savannah Emmert 2 points, three rebounds, 2 steals; Isabell Claywell 2 points, 3 rebounds, four assists and 2 steals.
CC: Everett 13, Cleary 11, Halderman 6, Schrad 16, Cooper 13.
Three-pointers: EHS (6): Judson 2, Drury 2, Stewart 2; CC (5): Everett 1, Cleary 2, Schrad 2.