INDIANAPOLIS — Foul woes, a key player’s absence and a lack of execution added up to something that hasn’t happened to the North High School girls basketball in more than five years.
Junior forward Sadie Hill scored 25 and sophomore guard Melody Johnson added 17 to lead Perry Meridian to a 60-48 win against the visiting Bull Dogs in Conference Indiana action on Saturday afternoon. It was the first Conference Indiana loss for the team since losing to former conference foe Pike on Dec. 3, 2011. The Falcons (9-7, 4-0) now control their own destiny for the conference crown with three games left. The Bull Dogs (12-5, 4-1) have two conference games to go.
“(Imani) Guy in foul trouble and playing limited time was one factor,” Bull Dogs coach Pat McKee said. “The other factor was Tessa Lomax, our other starting forward wasn’t here, she was home sick. It’s not an excuse; we should have still played better.”
Guy, a 6-4 senior, picked up two fouls in the first quarter. Then got her third foul late in the first half. Guy, who finished with 14 points, later picked up her fourth foul but never fouled out.
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Hill took advantage of Lomax’s absence.
“Tessa would have matched up perfectly on Hill perfectly physically,” McKee said. “She’s the same physical size. Without her here we had no one to guard (Hill). Then (Johnson) is so athletic. She hurt us in the open floor and we knew she would. She’s really good and not as great at others. But we allowed her to do her good things.”
However, McKee said who knows if that would have made a difference.
“Maybe they play that well and win anyway or maybe we defend better and the game is closer,” McKee said. “We didn’t execute very well. Simple things like near the end of the game — we said attack the basket and the next play we take a 15-foot jump shot. They got a lot of fouls and they’re giving them the calls. We’re trying to avoid fouls, rather than going through contact we couldn’t get a foul call.”
The Bull Dogs trailed 16-11 after the first quarter and expanded the lead to 24-14 midway through the second quarter.
“We made a nice run to get it down to one (30-29) at halftime,” McKee said. “Early third quarter, we had a couple of chances to make shots and we didn’t execute or we executed and blew the shot. They won because they played better.”
The Falcons hit 19 of 27 free throws, including several in the fourth quarter, to seal the victory. North was 8 of 13 from the foul line.
McKee said his players appeared tired after playing their third game of the week.
“But (Perry Meridian) really only plays six kids,” McKee said. “But their six were better than the nine or 10 I had in terms of conditioning.”
Senior guard Maliah Howard-Bass was the high scorer for North with 20 points.
Perry Meridian coach Mike Armstrong said his team did a good job handling Columbus North’s pressure.
“Against their 2-2-1 trap and the diamond press, we were able to not only turn the ball over much but we were able to convert that into points,” said Armstrong, whose team beat the Bull Dogs for the first time since the 2008-09 season. “We spent a lot of time trying to figure how we could attack them and not turn the ball over much.
Armstrong said his team, especially 6-3 sophomore forward Caitie Baird, did a good job defensively on Guy, Howard-Bass and Ashlyn Huffman, especially in the second half.
“We were at home and got some momentum,” Armstrong said. “It’s a tough conference. What we did to Columbus (Saturday) someone can do to us. We have to stay on top of our game. We’re still a work in progress. But this was a big step forward for us.”