By Ben Murphy
All things considered Farwell girls’ basketball head coach Tom Kleinhardt knows that a win this time of year doesn’t need style points. Tuesday night his Lady Eagles won 44-36 in Harrison, in a game that was closer than one might expect against the winless Lady Hornets.
“It is what is,” Kleinhardt said. “Coming out of winter break I’ll take a win. We were a little out of sorts. We didn’t have school yesterday but neither did Harrison so we can’t make that excuse.”
Harrison led for much of the early portion of the game and its eight-point loss is one of its closest games of the season.
“I don’t feel bad that we lost I’m just frustrated for them because they played so well,” Harrison head coach Kelly Cook said. “We were evenly matched but where they won the game was in the paint tonight.”
Harrison opened the Jack Pine Conference game with a slow-paced offensive attack. Using a five-out offense and either held the ball for a extended chunks of time or passed the ball around slowly until an open lane appeared.
Jessica Scherrer gave Harrison an early 2-0 lead on a pair of free throws after getting fouled on a drive to the basket but Farwell quickly answered with a three-pointer by Selena Deleon.
Harrison got hoops by Lexi Lachappa and Scherrer to take a 6-3 though Farwell closed the quarter on a 6-1 run to pull ahead 9-7 after the first.
Caron White capped off the Lady Eagle run with an easy lay-in off an entry pass from Alysha Luster.
Deleon opened the second quarter with a turnaround jumper off a pass from Bria Colosky, with Colosky scoring the next time down the court on a deep two-pointer to put Farwell up 13-7.
“Bria did a nice job,” Kleinhardt said of Colosky’s first start of the season. “I was pleased, she was able to gain confidence. She had six points so that’s doing some good things.”
Harrison, wouldn’t go away however, getting a fast-break hoop by Scherrer, a free throw by Lachappa, followed by a lay-in by LaChappa to cut the Farwell lead back to 13-12.
White hit a pair of baskets late in the half to put the Eagles up 18-12 but Katelyn Sherrick drove through the middle of the Farwell defense and flipped in a basket just before the halftime buzzer sounded to make it 18-14 at the half.
“We transitioned well from offense to defense,” Cook said. “We’re doing well for a young team. LaChappa played well for us, she gave us her best game. She played consistently and did a terrific job.”
White scored on two easy lay-ins on a pair of entry passes by Deleon to give Farwell a 22-14 edge less than a minute into the second half and later in the frame White dished a pass to Kate Saupe who scored a lay-up that put Farwell up 24-17 and the Eagles bumped that lead to 32-23 entering the fourth.
The Eagle lead stayed around nine-to-12 points for the early part of the fourth quarter, getting hoops by Colosky, Jessie Theisen and a put-back by Saupe to lead 38-26 with about five minutes to play.
Sherrick hit a pair of free-throws to make it 38-28 and Sherrick later cut the gap to 40-35 on a left-handed floater through the lane and a steal and fast-break basket with just over two minutes to play.
Harrison could get no closer however, as White netted a fast-break basket after Sherrick’s hoop and White followed that up by hitting a pair of free-throws to help close out the 44-36 win.
“I give Harrison credit, they forced us to come out (on defense) and they double-downed on White down low,” Kleinhardt said. “They played tough defense on us.”
Farwell was led by White with 16 points, Six rebounds, two steals and two assists, Saupe had seven points and eight rebounds, Colosky has six points, Deleon had five points, seven assists and four steals,Theisen and Nina Buccilli both had four points with Theisen adding three steals and Luster had two points and four rebounds.
Harrison was led by Sherrick with 13 points, Scherrer had 12 points and eight rebounds and Lachappa had seven points and seven rebounds.
“I think our confidence level is really increasing,” Cook said. “I start three sophomores so it’s tough to be playing seniors. I’m proud of them, I don’t think there’s a team in the league that has progressed better than we have.”
Farwell (4-2 overall, 3-2 JPC) hosted league leading Clare on Thursday and host Vestaburg in a non-league game on Monday.
Harrison (0-7, 0-5) hosted Meridian on Thursday and hosts Lake City on Tuesday.