HASKELL -- After losing its first two games of the season, Harmony Grove (2-2) has made statements out of its last two opponents, winning by a combined 112-35. The Lady Cardinals put a hurt on the Woodlawn Lady Bears to open the Bill Gibbs Memorial Tournament on Tuesday, winning 55-26.
“I thought we had really good effort in the second half,” Head Coach John White said. “The shot selection was better and the effort in general helped us pull away with a big third quarter.”
Though the score was heavily weighted in Harmony Grove’s favor, the first half was a much closer game.
Harmony Grove opened the contest with three straight misses before Morgan Efrid drained two straight free throws to give the Lady Cardinals a 2-0 lead. With little scoring going on in the first quarter, Harmony Grove managed to escape the opening frame with a 7-3 lead. But the second quarter was much of the same with both teams continuing to trade buckets with one another.
With 1:45 left in the first half, Cassie Dixon drained a big 3-pointer for Harmony Grove to put her team up 15-11. The Lady Cardinals added five more in the final moments of the half to lead Woodlawn 20-15 at the break.
After a pretty competitive first half, the Lady Cardinals were finished playing around to begin the third quarter, jumping out to a 27-16 advantage still with 6:09 left on the clock following a short bucket from Dempsey.
With 2:56 left to tick in the third, Harmony Grove found itself with a 14-point lead, 34-20, after senior Katie Wright sank her loan 3-pointer of the game. The Lady Cardinals threw together an 8-2 run to end the third quarter taking a 42-22 lead into the final eight minutes of regulation.
Still rolling on both ends of the court, Harmony Grove didn’t let up in the fourth quarter, hitting 4 of 11 shots from the field while also adding five free throws. The Lady Cardinals took a commanding 25-point lead with 5:21 left in the game before extending it to 30 at 55-25 with 2:10 left to tick away.
Woodlawn hit a last-ditch free throw in the loss, sending Harmony Grove to Round 2 of the tournament to battle Mt. Vernon/Enola on Thursday at 4 p.m.
“Woodlawn got a lot of extra chances and it seemed like we had the ball taken from us a few times in the first half,” White said regarding his team’s first-half play. “We were a little sloppy and they probably showed more effort in the first half.”
Dempsey and Sarah Jackson paced Harmony Grove in the blowout, combining for 24 points (Dempsey 13). Dixon and Lydia Windsor added 7 each. Efrid followed with 6.
“For us to be as good as we can be we are going to have to be very balanced,” White said. “I am glad the scoring is spread out and hopefully it will continue to be that way.”
Though the scoring was there, the Lady Cardinals biggest key to the win was their ability to hold onto the ball, turning the ball over just nine times. Through three games Harmony Grove coughed up the rock an average of 20 times per game before Tuesday night.
The Lady Cardinals shot 35 percent from the field (19-54), while hitting 13 of 25 chances from the free-throw line. Harmony Grove, however, did lose the rebounding battle by a slim margin, 31 to 30.
The win moves the Lady Cardinals to 2-2 on the year.