This girls’ basketball contest at Harper Creek featured a series of many firsts.
It was the first game of the year for both the St. Joseph Bears and the Harper Creek Beavers. It was the first game as Beaver head coach for Terri Tchorzynski. It was also the first taste of competitive basketball and tight, down-to-the-wire finishes.
Despite a near, come-from-behind win, Harper Creek fell short of a victory, losing 42-37 to St. Joseph in non-conference girls’ basketball action on Tuesday night.
“We made adjustments based on what they (St. Joseph) were doing defensively,” said Tchorzynski, who made her coaching début tonight filling in for former coach Matt Ellenwood. “In the second half, they understood where the game was going and were able to play offense. Not that we came out flat, we just weren’t prepared to play. … We were expecting a man-to-man defense, but they came out in 1-3-1 zone. It just threw us off.”
Early in the first quarter, it was the Bears coming out strong both defensively and offensively. St. Joseph forced six Beaver turnovers and didn’t allow a Harper Creek basket until there were two minutes left in the quarter. As a result, Harper Creek trailed 14-4 heading into the second quarter.
The Bears came out with a 1-3-1 zone defense which created fits for Beavers in the first. However, Harper Creek – through the play of forward Olivia Leson’s rebounding — were able to draw the score closer, 16-9, with 3:16 left in the half. Despite the comeback, though, St. Joseph started pulling away from the Beavers after a couple of Shelby Madison baskets. A guard, Madison had 10 points and four rebounds in the first half to help give the Bears a 25-9 halftime lead.
In the third quarter with 6:49 left remaining, St. Joseph head coach Paul Brohman called a timeout as the Beavers converted on back-to-back baskets to cut the lead in half, 25-13.
But the Beavers proceeded to cut the St. Joseph lead to single digits, 33-24, as Beavers’ guard Jacey Bowers hit a layup as time expired in the third. With 3:27 left in the game, and after a Leson 3-pointer and a pair of Charley Andrews free throws, the deficit was now 38-34. The comeback, though nearly complete, fell just short.
For the Beavers, forward Faith Hayes led the way with 11 points to go along with three rebounds, while Andrews and Leson each had seven points.