LAKEVILLE — It took about a quarter for the Lady Lancers to shake off the cobwebs in their season-opener with Mishawaka Marian.
Struggling with turnovers and some shaky shooting early, LaVille spotted the visiting Lady Knights a 14-0 lead. When the Lancers finally got rolling midway through the second frame, it was already too late, and the home team fell 44-34 Tuesday night at Dale E. Cox Gymnasium.
“We just had too many turnovers. You cannot win a basketball game with that,” said LaVille girls basketball coach Kevin McCullough. “Marian was able to play with a lead, and that made the difference in the game. We just turned the ball over, and that’s why we’re still having practice tomorrow.”
The Lancers coughed up eight turnovers against Marian’s zone press and 2-3 in the halfcourt in the first period while scuffling to an 0-for-9 start from the field. Early jitters were evident for the Knights, too, as the visitors turned over five times themselves in the opening frame and didn’t hit a field goal until Katie Barnhard’s driving layup at the 3:44 mark put them up 3-0.
But LaVille was even slower to get going as Hannah Herbster’s triple from the top of the key at the 5:58 stop of the second quarter finally put the Lancers on the board and halted a 14-0 Marian run. The Lancers’ man-to-man defense held the Knights to just six points in the quarter to keep them in it, and McKenzie Leed banked in a buzzer-beating halfcourt shot to cut the LaVille deficit to 16-11 at halftime.
“That was a good one. We practice half-courters, and she’s hit a lot of them in practice, so she knew what to do with it,” said McCullough.
Unable to work the ball inside against the Marian zone, LaVille was finally able to pull the Knights out into man coverage with three triples during an 11-2 run in the third quarter, including two treys from Amanda Carbiener, the latter of which cut the Knights’ lead to 25-22 with 2:43 left in the period. An offensive rebound and pair of free throws by Leed with 1:30 remaining kept the gap at one possession, but Allyson Schmidt’s 3-pointer from the wing in transit off an Erin Gizicki pass with 40 ticks left in the frame pushed the Marian advantage back to 30-24 headed into the final period.
“We didn’t hit our 3s. We had plenty of open looks,” said McCullough. “We had 30 turnovers, but we still had over 40 shots. We had plenty of shots, plenty of free throws.”
LaVille’s last best chance came with only 1:56 left to play as Carbiener hit her third 3 of the night to pull the Lancers within five at 38-33, but following a LaVille timeout, Marian easily broke the home team’s full court press with a transition layup by Nicky DelPrete to push the cushion back to seven. Ashlee Taylor calmly converted a pair of free throws with 1:47 on the clock, and, after Carbiener split a pair with 14 seconds to go, Gizicki brought the score to its final margin on a one-and-one with a little over a second until the buzzer.
Barnhard scored a game-high 15 points for the Knights before fouling out with 2:23 left in the game. In persistent foul trouble throughout the night, her intermittent absences from the floor were felt in two of LaVille’s big runs. Gizicki finished with nine points, eight rebounds and six steals, while DelPrete put up eight points with 10 rebounds.
LaVille was led by 10 points apiece from Leed and Carbiener. The 5-5 Leed also finished with six rebounds behind Lynae Hostrawer’s team-high seven, and Hannah Herbster contributed a workmanlike eight points, six rebounds and four steals.
Both teams recorded high turnover numbers in their opener; LaVille tallied 29 miscues and Marian finished with 25 turnovers. They also struggled with shooting as Marian finished 17-for-52 from the field and 6-of-16 from the charity stripe, and the Lancers went 7-for-47 from the floor and 12-of-23 at the line.
The good news is there’s plenty of time to turn the season around. LaVille will have its first opportunity to do so when the Lancers hit the road for Concord Saturday. Varsity tip-off is scheduled for 7:45 p.m.
“It’s a long season. It’s the first game. We could have won. I’m not taking anything away from Marian, but you jump up a class, and you need to do things the right way, not 30 turnovers,” said McCullough.
“We played hard on defense. I don’t have a problem with how hard we played at all, but we’ve got to play a little bit smarter. We’ve got plenty of experienced players, and I’m thinking that they’ll be able to get it turned around.”
• MISHAWAKA MARIAN 44, LaVILLE 34
Score by quarters
Marian: 10 6 14 14 — 44
LaVille: 0 11 13 10 — 34
Marian (44): Erin Gizicki 9, Katie Barnhard 15, Ashlee Taylor 5, Kiersten Reed 2, Allyson Schmidt 5, Anna Barnhard 0, Nicky DelPrete 8; Totals: 18 6-16 44.
LaVille (34): Kelsey Gurtner 5, McKenzie Leed 10, Kyla Coblentz 0, Hannah Herbster 8, Katie Berger 1, Lynae Hostrawser 0, Amanda Carbiener 10, Paige Hawkins 0; Totals: 8 12-23 34.
3-pointers: Marian 2 (Gizicki, Allyson Schmidt), LaVille 6 (Carbiener 3, Leed 2, Herbster); Rebounds: Marian 47 (DelPrete 10, Gizicki 8); LaVille 39 (Hostrawser 7, Gurtner 6, Leed 6, Herbster 6); Turnovers: Marian 25, LaVille 29; Steals: Marian 15 (Gizicki 6), LaVille 9 (Herbster 4); Assists: Marian 5, LaVille 3; Blocks: Marian 3; Fouls (fouled out): Marian 22 (Katie Barnard, Kiersten Reed); LaVille 14 (none).
Records: Marian 1-0, LaVille 0-1.
JV score: Marian 34 (Hannah Dover 10), LaVille 19 (Lauren Hostrawser 7).