HIGH SCHOOL GIRLS' BASKETBALL: Depleted United knocked out of playoffs
RICHLAND TOWNSHIP — Playing without injured starters Hope Hixson and Kylee Surike, the United girls’ basketball team simply ran out of fuel early in the second half against Bishop Carroll on Thursday at the Richland High School Sportscenter.
The fifth-seeded Huskies allowed just two United players to get on the scoresheet and turned a tight game into a blowout in the second half to score a 55-35 win in a District 6 Class A quarterfinal-round playoff game.
The fourth-seeded Lions concluded their season with a 13-10 record.
Bishop Carroll will face top-seeded Portage in the semifinals next week.
“I really believe we just ran out of gas,” United coach Lee Ann Ault said. “I think a lack of practice coming in and having a tough week last week contributed to that. But I still think the kids went out and gave us 100 percent until the very end, and that’s all we ever ask for.”
United jumped out to leads of 4-0 and 8-4 early in the first quarter before allowing the Huskies to end the stanza on a 10-5 run.
Haley Krug nailed a 3-point field goal with seven seconds left in the first to give Bishop Carroll its first lead, 14-13.
The lead changed for the third time in the second quarter when United’s Eden Bloom shook a defender with a head fake and then banked in a jump shot to give the Lions a 20-19 lead with 2:06 left in the first half.
Following a 3 from Bishop Carroll’s Lea Sammarco, United’s Taylor Mack completed a three-point play to put the Lions ahead 23-22 with 28 seconds to go.
But Sammarco hit the last shot of the first half, an open jumper on the Huskies’ ensuing possession, to give Bishop Carroll a 24-23 halftime lead.
“We were taking too many 3s and settling for too many bad shots,” Bishop Carroll coach Crystal Horton said. “We told our girls to go out in the second half and attack. Attack the basket and don’t live and die by the 3.”
The Huskies started the second half on a 6-0 burst, one capped by a jumper from Britt Krug that stretched their lead to seven points, 30-23, with 4:53 to go in the third quarter.
Bishop Carroll held United to just one field goal in the third quarter and carried an eight-point lead, 37-29, into the fourth.
United committed four turnovers and made just 1 of 4 field goals in the first four minutes of the fourth quarter to fall behind by 14 points, 47-33, with 4:02 to play.
Bishop Carroll made 3 of 5 field goals and 2 of 2 free throws in the last 3:50 to finish the game on an 8-2 spurt.
“Bloom had 13 in the first half, so we knew we had to contain her and keep her away from the basket,” Horton said. “She was attacking us in front of the basket in the first half, but we knew if we could contain her we could definitely win this game.”
The Lions made 5 of 6 free throws in the second half but mustered just three field goals, including one 3, and were outscored 31-12.
“Our whole defense really stepped it up at the end,” said Britt Krug, who scored a team-high 15 points for the Huskies. “Every time (Bloom) would get past us they’d step up and get a charge called. We just pressed and pinched down on them at the end.”
Bloom, a senior who eclipsed the 1,000-point career plateau on Dec. 27, led all scorers with 20 points. Mack chipped in 15 points.