News From Terre Haute, Indiana

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February 1, 2014

In game of runs, Terre Haute North girls hold off late Terre Haute South rally

TERRE HAUTE — Terre Haute North coach Mike Allen told his team before Friday night’s game with crosstown rival Terre Haute South that it would be a game of runs, and he wasn’t off on that prediction.

The Patriots and Braves frequently exchanged streaks of four to six points, but it was North which came away with a 53-49 victory in girls high school basketball after holding off a fierce South rally in the final period.

“We knew the lead was going to go up and down and we had to finish the game on a high note,” Allen said.

 “We were able to hit our free throws down the stretch and that made the difference.”

North led 37-33 after three quarters. After South hit a free throw to open the final period, the Patriots got six straight points on a pair of Jennifer Bendickson free throws and baskets from Libby Ward and Adrienne Pritchard to to up 43-34 with 6:37 left.

South, of course, got the next five points on a basket from Lauren Hambrock and a 3-pointer from Lauren Perrelle to make it 43-39. The margin never got more than four points the rest of the way and North got three free throws from Abby Howes in the final 17.3 seconds to put the game away and win the “Crown” for the second straight year.

Coach Cara Stuckey’s South squad had been in this position many times this year, trailing in the fourth quarter, and she was pleased the Braves were able to come back and challenge at the end.

“I just told our team I have never been prouder of them for how they came back in the fourth quarter,” she said. “This was the first time we’ve fought back to make a game of it after getting behind late. We did not finish our shots and free throws were a killer.”

The Braves trailed 51-49 with 7.7 seconds left and had a chance to tie, but missed a pair of free throws that sealed their fate. Howes led North with a career-high 17 points, including 9 of 10 at the free-throw line.

The sophomore was much more composed on the court than in perhaps her first-ever media interview following the contest.

“Coach Allen said it was going to be a game of runs, and that’s exactly what happened,” said Howes, her excitement no doubt rivaling that of a child half her age on Christmas morning. “I just wanted to do everything I could to help my teammates. South played great, and we played great, and it was an awesome experience.”

North led 12-8 after one quarter thanks to a pair of Lauren Curley free throws and a Pritchard basket in the final minute.

The Patriots led 15-10 midway through the second period when South had a 7-0 run to take its first lead. An evenly played first half was tied 22-22 at the intermission.

South eased its way out to a 29-27 lead midway through the third period when North got a Ward free throw and five straight points by Howes to go up 33-29. North maintained a four-point lead lead after three periods.

South cut the gap to three before its nine-point run early in the final period.

Howes got balanced support from Pritchard with 11 points and 14 rebounds, while Bendickson added 10 points and Ward chipped in with nine points.

Hambrock paced South with 14 points and 10 rebounds, while Kylie Fendrick had 13 points and Perrelle chipped in with 10.

Both coaches enjoyed the atmosphere of playing in the South gym, compared to the spacious Hulman Center.

“Our students and fans were awesome,” Stuckey said. “We were glad to be able to make a comeback to entertain them. It was a great atmosphere for the game.”

Allen agreed.

“It was fun,” he said. “It was a great environment and our crowd was great also. I was hoping I could communicate a little better, but our kids did a great job on the court of doing that like they’re supposed to.”

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