By TRIBUNE SPORTS STAFF
---- — Northwestern’s girls basketball team roared back in the second half to top Taylor 44-40 Friday night in the opening game of a girls-boys doubleheader at Center Court.
The Purple Tigers were down 21-13 at halftime after a poor-shooting first half that saw them hit 5 of 27 shots. The Tigers revved up the pressure defense in the third quarter, getting three transition hoops in the opening couple minutes before getting all the way back on a 3-pointer from Olivia McClure tied the game at 24-all.
Tiger center Brooke Treadway posted intently in the third quarter and scored a dozen points in the frame to help the Tigers take a 38-33 lead.
With the game tied at 27-all, Northwestern went up 34-27 on a seven-point possession. Treadway posted, sealed her defender and spun in for a hoop, got fouled, and Taylor’s Brie Boehler was called for a technical as well. Treadway hit her freebie and both technical free throws, and teammate Kaitlyn Daanen hit two free throws on the ensuing possession. Northwestern held the lead the rest of the game.
“We came out with a lot more intensity [after halftime] than what we started the game with,” NW coach Kathie Layden said. “The third quarter our press really helped get some baskets, get a little momentum.”
Treadway had a game-high 20 points and a dozen rebounds. Daanen had 18 rebounds including seven offensive caroms as the Tigers outrebounded Taylor 45-26. Daanen, Sydney Zech and Olivia McClure each had six points.
Boehler led Taylor with 11 points, but sat a stretch of the second half after the foul and technical gave her a total of four fouls. She didn’t score again after notching her fourth foul. Kaitlynn Good had nine points off the bench for Taylor, all on treys.
Taylor coach Dennis Bentzler said Treadway’s efficient shooting “was kind of the dagger in the heart.”
“We executed on the floor, we just couldn’t finish the game,” he said. “We lost our composure, but at least I see some fight in our kids now.”
Northwestern improved to 3-6 overall, 2-2 in the Mid-Indiana Conference. Taylor fell to 2-6, 1-2 in the MIC.
WESTERN 80, EASTERN 36
The Class 3A No. 2-ranked Panthers improved to 8-0 on the season and 4-0 in MIC with a rout of the Comets in the opening game of a girls-boys doubleheader at Greentown.
Western used an overwhelming full-court trap and a suffocating zone defense in the half court to overrun Eastern early. The Panthers grabbed 10 steals in the first quarter on their way to a 28-6 lead at the first stop, led by Carley O’Neal’s seven steals.
“[Eastern is] dealing with some graduation losses and are learning a new system under a new coach, so we went in looking to work on executing our sets offensively and keeping our intensity up defensively,” Western coachChris Keisling said. “The biggest thing was, I thought, when we rotated kids in, our communication was great. We didn’t miss a beat when we subbed. ... I was proud of my kids. They’re great kids who come to play hard every night.”
Eastern (1-7, 0-3 MIC) outscored Western 19-15 in the second quarter to pull within 43-25 at the half with the help of superb play on the weakside glass. But, the Comets were unable to overcome turnovers against hounding pressure. The Panthers took a 68-29 lead into the fourth quarter, where nary a starter saw the floor.
Eastern finished with 36 turnovers.
“Once we got through the initial shock of their press, I thought we handled it well from the middle of the first quarter until halftime,” Eastern coach Justin Coomer said. “But, they came out in the third quarter and put the pressure on us, trapping in that zone, and our kids didn’t recognize what to do. They were able to blow it open from there. I thought our second quarter was really good. But, they wore us down with their press and relentless pressure.”
Kiersten Durbin led Western with 20 points, scoring 12 in the first quarter. Carley O’Neal added 14 points and 10 steals, and Caitlyn O’Neal added 13 points while Hayley Mills pulled down a team-high eight rebounds.
Jessie Sprinkles led the Comets with 10 points and eight rebounds off the bench.
MIC STANDINGS MIC All Western 4-0 8-0 Cass 1-0 4-4 H. Heights 1-0 3-5 Northwestern 2-2 3-6 Peru 1-1 2-6 Taylor 1-2 2-6 Maconaquah 0-2 0-8 Eastern 0-3 1-7