BY GREG FLINT
CAYUGA, Ind. —
Every play mattered when North Vermillion and Attica faced off in girls’ sectional basketball action. The game ended 52-51 in favor of the host Falcons, but change any play and the result might have been flipped.
Some games are about runs; others have one team dominate throughout. This game, to borrow a phrase from meteorology was about “microbursts” — short spurts of action that kept changing the game.
North Vermillion opened the scoring with a drive by Taylor Turchi, but then came the first Attica spurt. Maci Kyger hit a trey, a basket and another trey in two minutes to put the Ramblers up 10-5.
The Falcons quickly countered with a three-pointer by Turchi, who followed up with a fast break lay-up to tie the game at 10-10 going into the second quarter.
North Vermillion next got their outside-inside game going as Kylee Karr hit a 3-pointer then Darby Martin went inside for a short jumper.
Karr then added free throws and Rhiannon Grubbs knocked down a trey to make it 20-10.
It was time for a burst from Attica, who got things started when Kara Harmeson got a steal and took the ball the length of the floor. Kyger got a put back and then it was time for Chelsey LaDuke to shine.
The junior started with two free throws then stole the ball and got a 3-point play. Kaley Sosnowski added a basket then LaDuke added another two freebies to pull Attica within one, 24-23, at intermission.
“I thought we had a good defensive plan and executed it all night,” said Attica head coach Matt Harmeson. “I think we pushed too hard in the first part of the second quarter and fell behind, but we fought right back to only trail by one at the half.”
Attica regained the lead as the third quarter started. Kyger grabbed a long offensive rebound and put up a jumper off of it then Ashley Mitton made a lay-up to make the score 27-24.
Once again, a surge followed, this time by North Vermillion as Karr hit a lay-up then fed Kinsey West for one to make it 29-28.
The Ramblers scored twice in the next 20 seconds, both on Kyger steals and lay-ups, which caused North Vermillion coach Terry Naylor to call a time out.
The Falcons quickly got the ball to Karr who converted a three-point play to tie the game and force an Attica time out.
That break did not help as Karr scored then four seconds later so did West after a steal. Jaylynn Borden ended the quarter with a trey that left North Vermillion in the lead 36-35.
“I think we ran out of gas at the end of the third quarter and they took advantage,” said Harmeson of the late flurry. “We fell behind, but kept fighting back.”
The Falcons opened the final frame with another burst — a trey from Turchi and seconds later a jumper by Martin. Right after that, Mitton picked up her fourth foul and went to the bench, forcing Attica to try to cover Martin with the much short Kyger.
North Vermillion tried to take advantage and go inside to Martin, who quickly scored on a lay-up. After Kyger hit a free throw to make it 44-38, the Falcons went into a semi-delay game, looking only for Martin.
It worked as she was fouled and made two free throws to put her team up eight, but once again, there was another flurry from Attica.
Mitton came back in and put up a lay-up. Kyger hit a basket and Mitton followed with one of two free throws to pull Attica within three with 2:23 to go.
North Vermillion called a time out, but Attica continued to score with Mitton adding a lay-up to time the margin to one.
The Falcons upped the lead to three after a steal, but Kaylynn Kirkpatrick hit a three-pointer to tie the game with 1:48 to go.
Martin made it 50-48 then Sosnowski hit a free throw for Attica to halve that margin. Karr, who scored 19 points on the night, followed with two free throws that made it 52-49 with 20 seconds left.
Attica tried to get off a shot, but saw the ball go out of bounds — to them. With 6.1 seconds left, they inbounded and Mitton made a lay-up – with North Vermillion being careful not to foul — at the one-second mark to make the final 52-51.
“It wasn’t what we wanted to do, but we didn’t execute there at the end — that’s on me,” said Harmeson about the end of the game.
Naylor wondered why the game was played the way it was by his team, saying, “We seemed scared out there. I don’t get it – we’ve got four seniors, but we’d give the ball to one player and four other would just stand and watch what she’d do.”
He may not have like the play, but he said, “We got the win and that’s what matters. We’re going to work on doing things better tomorrow.”
For Harmeson, it was the North Vermillion seniors that did in his team.
“Their seniors scored 41 of their 52 points and we were playing them with sophomores and juniors,” he explained. “I’m proud of how we played tonight — this is the sixth-ranked team in the state with a 21-2 record we face — so our kids have nothing to hang their heads about after this one.”
Greg Flint is a freelance writer/photographer for the Commercial-News, he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org