A seven-minute scoreless stretch during a crucial junction of the second half spelled doom for Kokomo’s girls basketball team in a 43-36 loss to visiting New Castle Friday night at Memorial Gym.
After trailing 20-15 at the half, the Lady Kats (8-5) pulled within one at 26-25 with 2:01 to play in the third quarter after a 3-pointer from Jasmine Love and a free throw from Schentavia Williams. The Trojans closed out the quarter on a 5-0 spurt to take a 31-25 lead into the fourth, and finished off a 13-0 run to go up 39-25 while holding Kokomo scoreless until Alanis Jones hit a trey for the Kats with 3:01 to play.
Kokomo got within six with under 30 seconds left, but the damage had been done. It put a damper on a strong defensive effort that saw the Kats force 22 turnovers and grab 12 steals. The win marked the first victory for New Castle at Memorial Gym in the squads’ 33rd meeting overall.
“The girls showed a ton of fight down the stretch to cut it down to a two-possession game,” Kokomo coach Jason Snyder said. “The most frustrating thing is you get good shots, shots the girls had been dropping, but they didn’t drop [Friday] night. You’re at home and feel comfortable, but we just didn’t hit the shots when we really needed them.”
Jones led Kokomo with nine points, while Love added seven points, Allie Lowe added six points and nine rebounds and Gabrielle Smith finished with six points and seven boards.
Sophomore guard Kaila Stiner took her eighth charging foul of the season, tying Heather Cusick’s mark during the 1998-99 season for the school record. Cusick is currently the junior varsity coach.
Laura Thomas led New Castle (12-2) with nine points, while Shelby Alderson and Brandi Pennington each added eight for the Trojans.
FINAL New Castle 43 Kokomo 36 Next: Kokomo visits Chicago Marist Monday.