BY GREG FLINT
ATTICA, Ind. —
In a battle of unbeatens girls’ basketball teams in the Wabash River Conference, the North Vermillion Falcons traveled to Attica and came away with a 60-45 victory.
The Ramblers fell behind early, made a pair of good runs, but could never quite overcome the first Falcon blitz, eventually fading in the fourth quarter to drop the contest.
North Vermillion opened the game by attacking inside, either driving to the basket by one of their guards or passing inside to Darby Martin. They took a 5-0 lead before Attica got a basket from their post player, Ashley Mitton, to snap the string.
Martin scored 10 points in the first quarter as the Falcons opened a 13-point lead at the end of the first quarter — a margin they would not match again until the waning moments of the game.
Down 20-7, Attica began to push the ball as the second quarter started, going inside with guards Maci Kyger or Kaley Sosnowski to cut into the North Vermillion lead.
“I really didn’t want to force things,” said Attica head coach Matt Harmeson, “but we had to up the pace to try to get back into the game.”
It helped as the Ramblers cut the margin down to seven at 32-25 by halftime. Martin got into foul trouble for the Falcons and her absence abetted the Attica run – but not as much as Harmeson thought it should have done.
“We didn’t take advantage of her foul trouble because we didn’t get the ball inside,” he explained. “We didn’t made good entry passes — either they were at the knees or on the defensive side — and that gave us empty possession. You can’t have empty possessions against a team like North Vermillion.”
At the start of the third quarter, North Vermillion stretched the lead back up to as many as twelve points at 40-28, but Attica went on a 10-2 run to pull within four. Taylor Turchi hit two free throws for the Falcons at the end of the quarter to get the lead back to six at 44-38.
“We didn’t move our feet on defense,” said North Vermillion head coach Terry Naylor. “We let them get to the basket, especially in the second and third quarters and that got them back into it.”
Martin was back on the floor at the start of the fourth quarter and she and Turchi scored nine straight points to make it 49-38 before Chloe Spragg got a putback for the Ramblers.
Attica called a time out and coming out of the break, Kaylynn Kirkpatrick hit a trey for the Ramblers to cut the lead to ten at 53-43, but her team could only score once more, a putback by Spragg in the final seconds, while giving up another seven.
“Our defensive intensity was nonexistent in that fourth quarter,” said Harmeson about the run put on by the Falcons. “I don’t know if our comeback ran us out of gas or what, but we didn’t play well at all that fourth quarter.”
Harmeson did have kind words for Chelsey LaDuke saying she had played a good game especially in the third quarter.
Naylor said he also liked how a player stepped up, noting that when Martin got in foul trouble, Turchi had picked up the load.
With the win, the Falcons need only defeat Covington to win the WRC title outright. Attica falls back into an effective tie with Riverton Parke, a team they have yet to face.