DAILY JOURNAL SPORTS CORRESPONDENT
Coach Amy Macy acknowledged this was a game the Edinburgh girls basketball team probably wouldn’t have won earlier in the season.
But the Lancers withstood some tenacious defensive pressure from visiting Lutheran to pick up a 39-33 win.
The victory gives Edinburgh its first back-back wins of the year and a 4-18 regular regular-season record, with the Class A Morristown Sectional looming next week.
Both the win and the quality of it, coming against a previously 8-12 Lutheran, was a confidence boost for the Lancers.
“One thing we learned against Eastern Hancock (is), when they put that pressure on us we folded, and I’m proud we learned from that game,” Macy said. “We played aggressive and took it to them.”
The game was a scrappy affair from the opening tip. Lutheran’s man-to-man defense and Edinburgh’s zone both resulted in the opposing offense putting the ball on the floor, leading to numerous turnovers and held-ball situations.
Edinburgh’s Kayli Littiken had three first-quarter field goals, but Lutheran capitalized on turnovers, with a layup by Erin Pasch at the buzzer giving the Saints a 13-8 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Both teams shot poorly in the second quarter, with only two total field-goal attempts finding their target for the eight minutes. Lutheran led 15-10 at halftime.
Pressure defense from both teams kept much of the third quarter from featuring rhythm, but Edinburgh’s Allie Schooler began to find her range, making four short jumpers in the period. Mariah Weddle added a layup off a nice pass from Brianna Howard to give the Lancers their first lead of the game at 23-21. Howard then went from provider to receiver, scoring off a pass from Schooler to make the score after three quarters 25-23 for the Lancers.
Lutheran’s aggressiveness began to catch up. Edinburgh entered the bonus with more than six minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, and Lutheran standout point guard Morgan Keefer had to leave with four fouls a minute later.
But the game became very deliberate again, with both teams holding the ball for long periods of time without shooting.
Schooler hit a jumper with 2:04 left, and as the ball was in flight, a foul was called against Lutheran under the basket. Howard made one of the foul shots to give the Lancers a five-point lead. Edinburgh’s Megan Rooks hit six key free throws in the final minute to seal the win.
Macy cited the inside play of Weddle and Littiken as major factors, and also credited Howard with a big defensive performance against Lutheran’s offensive standouts.
“Mariah and Kayli were very big with rebounds and playing good inside, and Bri really took their best shooters out of the game with her defense,” Macy said. “Everyone who played either scored important points or made some big passes.”
Schooler led Edinburgh with 12 points, followed by Littiken with nine. Weddle had a game-high 14 rebounds, supported by Howard with eight and Littiken with six.
Edinburgh will open Morristown Sectional play Wednesday against Baptist Academy.