For about 25 minutes, Whiteland was having a tougher time than it might have expected with its girls basketball game against visiting Perry Meridian on Wednesday night.
The stretch run, though, belonged to the Warriors, who scored 13 unanswered points in the fourth quarter and pulled away for a 45-30 victory.
“We got some defensive stops and got out in transition a little bit more,” Whiteland coach Kyle Shipp said. “It was kind of a take-care-of-business type of game.”
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Holding onto a slim 32-28 lead, the Warriors (11-1) got their big finish started with a three-point play from Megan Harlow at the 6:12 mark. Mackenzie Blazek followed with consecutive baskets, adding another one later on with 3:28 on the clock that capped the run and made it 45-28.
Blazek finished with 19 points and 17 rebounds, leaving her just three shy of 1,000 for her career. Harlow added 11 points and 10 rebounds for the Warriors, who have won seven in a row.
“I think we finally started getting the flow of our game together,” Harlow said. “The first half we were just really struggling to get our flow, and then the second half came around and our flow came back. We started working more as a team, and it was pretty good.”
The Falcons (4-9) tied the game early in the second quarter on a three-point play by Ariana Booker, but Whiteland answered with an 11-2 run to take a 23-14 lead with 2:51 remaining in the half.
Another three-point play from Booker at the 6:25 mark of the third quarter drew Perry Meridian back within a pair at 23-21 before the Warriors again created some separation, this time with their defense. Whiteland allowed just one Falcon basket the rest of the period and took a 32-23 advantage into the fourth.
Perry Meridian got as close as four before the Warriors’ closing flurry, which included six points and seven rebounds from a well-rested Blazek. The senior appeared to be re-energized after sitting out a chunk of the third quarter.
“She played the whole first half,” Shipp said, “so I think that break did her real nice. She got her legs back underneath of her, and you saw some more moves that you usually see from her.”
Whiteland hosts New Palestine on Friday night before heading to Vincennes next week for a holiday tournament.