By Dave Pearce
Several members of the North Posey Viking basketball team returned to a place where just a few months ago, they left the floor in tears.
The members of this year’s North Posey team who were members of last year’s final New Harmony Rappite team left the floor after an unexpected loss and faced a lot of uncertainty.
But this time, there were no tears shed as the North Posey Lady Vikings, now a team blended with girls from that New Harmony team, made a victorious return to that site and defeated the Wood Memorial Lady Trojans by a score of 53-37.
But on Friday night, the New Harmony connection came through even stronger as the Lady Vikings outlasted the Big Eight Conference’s Vincennes Lincoln Alices 52-36 to even their record at 3-3.
“After starting our season with such a tough schedule, it is sometimes hard for the girls to realize that playing that type of competition can only make you a better team,” North Posey Coach Tracy Stroud said. “Then we lost our point guard in Emma Werry on top of that and we really weren’t sure how the girls would react.”
But if Thursday night was any indication, the Lady Vikings will be able to hold down the fort while Werry, who faces knee surgery on Dec. 20, recuperates.
The game was close throughout the first half as the Vikings built a 9-6 lead early only to have the Alices take an 11-9 lead.
But Hannah Harness would grab a rebound and take the ball coast-to-coast for a lay-up as the first quarter ticked off the clock to tie the score at 11 at the first break.
The second quarter would be much like the first, with the Alices taking an early 13-11 lead only to have Madison Worman get in on the coast-to-coast action and tie the score at 13.
Following a Vincennes basket, Worman jacked a 3-point basket over the zone defense to give her team a 16-15 lead.
The Alices, who are known for their relentless 3-point shooting, tied the game at 20 on a 3-pointer with 1:35 to go in the half before senior Brianna Perry gave the Vikings a 22-20 half-time lead, nailing two free throws with five seconds remaining in the half.
“We have changed our focus on what we were doing in practice and we are starting to see the benefit of that,” Stroud said following the game. “The kids are working hard in practice. When you are 0-3, it would have been easy for the girls to come into practice and go half-speed but they are coming in and working hard. Now that we have a few wins, it makes it easier to get going in practice, other than our point guard blowing out her knee, everything else is going along pretty well,”
The second half was particularly good for the Vikings as the Vikings outscored Vincennes 17-8 to take a 39-28 lead into the final period.
Some of those points were a direct result of a tenacious Viking defense and the team becoming aggressive to the basket on the offensive end.
Worman drove to the basket to open the second half scoring and Hannah Harness followed suit with a drive of her own. Rachel Ungetheim rebounded her own miss and stuck it back to give the Vikings the first eight points of the second half.
Vincennes scored an old-fashioned 3-point play but it was answered by a pair of Kelsey Owen free throws.
Kendall Morris then scored on her patented half-hoof jump shot to give the team a 32-23 lead. Hayley Harness then hit one of two free throws and a 2-point basket before Vincennes could finally get back on the board with a free throw at the 1:19 mark. By that time, the Lady Vikings led 37-24.
The Vikings then scored on a slick pass from Worman to Owen who finished strong and the Vikings led 39-25 before a last-second 3-pointer pulled Vincennes back to within 11 at the quarter break.
Ironically, it would be three former New harmony Rappites who would score all the North Posey points in the final period as Worman, Morris, and Owen accounted for all 12 points in the period while the team held Vincennes to only eight.
“The best thing about tonight was we played smart basketball in the second half,” a proud Stroud said after the game. “We took control of the game and even though they hit a couple of long threes, we never let that rattle us and we didn’t let them inch their way back into the game. We controlled the boards and moved the ball up and down the floor really well.”
Worman finished with 16 points and Owen had 14. Hannah Harness had eight and sister Hayley had five. Perry, Morris, and Ungetheim had two apiece.
“Kelsey woke up tonight,” Stroud said. “She has been rebounding and doing all the dirty work inside very well but you don’t see that because she’s not been scoring. But she actually hasn’t even been looking at the basket. This week, we told her she has a great 13- to 15-foot jump shoot and you need to look at the basket. When she does that, it opens things up for her to get some scoring inside, as well.”
The Vincennes Lincoln reserves took the preliminary game, 25-23.
The Lady Vikings return to action tonight (Tuesday) as they travel to powerful Southridge to take on the Raiders in the first PAC conference game of the year. Gametime at Southridge is one-half hour earlier. The reserve game begins at 5:30 and the varsity game will begin at 7 p.m.
On Tuesday evening, the North Posey freshmen girls defeated Boonville 26-18. Brooklynn Hammon led the team with eight points while Jenny Scheller had seven.
By Dave Pearce
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