Lady Dragons drop Region 6 showdown
Warren walked out onto its home floor on Monday looking to avenge an early-season loss to Region 6 leading Harbor Creek.
Instead, what they got was an almost identical result.
The Lady Huskies, for the second time in as many games against the Lady Dragons, turned in a dominant second half performance and that led to a 57-37 win.
For Warren coach Lisa LaVan, she knows its a matter of mental toughness.
“They play well and they play hard when things are going their way,” she said. “But as soon as things don’t go their way, they pack it in. Their mental toughness just isn’t where it needs to be right now. That’s the frustrating part and that’s what our talk was about in the locker room.”
Harbor Creek (11-2 overall, 6-0 Region 6) led by three at halftime in the first meeting and by five this time around, 23-18.
The Lady Dragons did a good job of limiting District 10’s leading scorer, Ali Benim, to just two points in the first half, as per the game plan.
Harbor Creek led in large part to the play of second-leading scorer Jenna Babay and Alexa Soles, who combined for 17 first-half points.
“We had a game plan and they executed part of it,” LaVan said. “We did our best to try and slow her (Benim) down, but we know that 30 (Latisha Baker) is very capable and 1 (Babay) is capable and in the end, their role players stepped up and did a good job.”
Harbor Creek took a 10-point lead in the third, but an Autumn Hultberg triple cut the deficit to 34-27 with 37 seconds left in the quarter. From that point, the Lady Huskies ouscored Warren (4-9, 2-4) 23-10.
Benim, who scored just four points in the first three quarters, saved her best for last, netting nine of her team-high 13 points in the final eight minutes. That’s a far cry from her average (23.2), but it was when she got those points that mattered the most.
“I give them (Harbor Creek) credit,” LaVan said. “They wanted it and they got after it.”
Baker, a 6-1 junior, got into early foul trouble with three in the first half, but that was negated by the fact the Warren’s Rachel Wilson met a similar fate with three first-half fouls.
“It was almost a perfect storm with 30 (Baker) getting in foul trouble, but then Rach gets in foul trouble,” noted LaVan. “It’s hard. It’s frustrating.”
While Warren tried to shut down Benim, that was Harbor Creek’s plan against Warren junior standout Margo Loutzenhiser, who checks in at fifth in District 10 in scoring at just over 19 per game.
Loutzenhiser scored eight points in the game, six of which came on the free throw line as she aggressively went to the basket.
It’s something Warren’s coaching staff would like to see more of as a group.
“We did some good things, but in the end it was bunnies and free throws and rebounding,” noted LaVan. “Bunnies and free throws are 100 percent mental. We make them against other teams. We make them in practice, but when the going gets tough, we have to be able to make them. We got some looks, but we just didn’t finish.”
Taylor Childress played a strong defensive game for the Lady Dragons with four steals, while Hultberg pulled down eight rebounds.
There is no rest for the Lady Dragons, as they have another tough home game on Thursday against the second place team in Region 6, Erie High.
“We know our region is tough in some places, and lucky for us our games fall back to back to back,” said LaVan, referring to games against the three teams currently ahead of them in the standings (Harbor Creek, Erie and McDowell). “It is what it is. We have to make the adjustments and it’s up to them. They have to fix it.”
– – –
HARBOR CREEK (57)
Babay 4-2-2-12, Benim 5-2-2-13, Soles 5-0-0-10, Prokopchak 2-0-0-4, Baker 4-3-4-11, Cass 2-1-2-5, Williamson 0-0-0-0, Farrel 0-0-0-0, Buziewicz 0-0-1-0, Woll 0-2-2-2, Humphreys 0-0-0-0, Barton 0-0-0-0, Pulvino 0-0-0-0, Born 0-0-0-0, Totals 22-8-16-57
Childress 1-3-4-5, Al. Hultberg 0-2-2-2, Wilson 2-0-4-2, Loutzenhiser 1-6-8-8, Au. Hultberg 5-1-2-13, Lupole 0-0-0-0, Wood 1-0-0-3, Citro 1-1-2-3, Stuart 0-1-2-1, Matson 0-0-0-0, Lucks 0-0-0-0, Totals 10-14-24-37
Harbor Creek 8 15 13 21 – 57
Warren 9 9 9 10 – 37
Three-point FGs: Harbor Creek (3) – Babay 2, Benim; Warren (3) – Au. Hultberg 2, Wood
– – –
JV: Warren 28, Harbor Creek 18
Warren: Stuart 5-1-2-12, Jewell 0-0-0-0, Nebinski 0-0-2-0, Matson 2-0-0-4, Paris 3-1-2-7, Barrett 0-0-0-0, Neureiter 0-0-0-0, Citro 2-1-1-5, Lucks 0-0-0-0, Totals 12-3-7-28