BREMEN — Although it is still very early in the high school girls basketball season, Bremen and North Judson were antsy for that initial victory while facing off Tuesday at the Lions Den.
Both played well on this night, but it was the Lady Jays who reached the ‘W’ column first after winning 70-60 in the non-league game that was much closer than the final score indicates.
“I thought our kids did a good job as far as intensity, not giving up, and when they did get down, they stayed in the ball game,” said first-year North Judson head coach Debbie Bolen. “Bremen never gave up and they played hard right to the end too.”
This one looked like it would be a runaway as NJ’s full-court press was the catalyst for an early 8-2 lead, but Bremen pulled to within four by the end of the first quarter. By the intermission, the Lady Lions had turned that deficit into a four-point advantage thanks to a 21-point second period explosion led by Sara Slabaugh.
“Amazing,” said Bremen head coach Tonya Lucchese about her junior guard, who scored 14 of her game-high 24 points during the second stanza. “She did a heck of a job. It was fun to watch. She really took it to them.”
“We scouted them,” added Bolen. “They have some nice guards that take it to the hole. I give credit to # 21 (Slabaugh). She had a nice game.”
Bremen’s lead reached as high as eight early in the third quarter, but the Lady Jays were able to claw back thanks to multiple trips to the foul line. North Judson scored nearly half of its points from the charity stripe, scoring 9, 11, and 10 respectively in the second, third, and fourth quarters. For the game, the Lady Jays connected on 33-of-51 free tosses and by the end of the third quarter had regained the lead, 46-44.
“I didn’t realize we had that many,” admitted Bolen about the game-long foul shooting parade. “That’s something we have been working on. We need those.”
“I did say to the referee that it seemed a little unbalanced on the fouls (32-17),” Lucchese added. “Part of that was because we were playing aggressive defense and you are going to send them to the line sometimes. I’d rather play aggressive and foul (than play passive.)”
The final period stayed close, but the last tie, 51-51, would occur with six minutes to play. From there, the visitors outscored the hosts, 19-9, eight coming from the free throw line during the 24-point quarter. Three Bremen players fouled out, including Slabaugh.
Jordann Frasure was one of four North Judson players scoring in double figures. The senior finished with 24 points and had a game-high 15 rebounds. Kayla Zimmerman added 13 points (11-15 FTs) to go with five rebounds. Megan Block pitched in 12 points and four boards, and Haley Frasure scored 10.
“We became more patient on offense, working the ball from the outside to the inside,” said Bolen. “Jordann played a hard-nosed game. She stepped up her defense and played a good full-court game. Taking a charge at the end was the game-stopper for us. We have a lot of older kids, but they have not played a lot. I thought Megan Block really stepped it up. It was her first time starting and playing a lot of minutes and that kid stepped up.”
Besides Slabaugh’s outstanding night, Bremen’s Megan Stouder scored nine points to go with four rebounds. Cassie Sears had six points and seven boards, and Brooke Snyder led the team in rebounding with nine.
“We played our hearts out and that’s all you can ask for,” concluded Lucchese.
Bremen (0-3) travels to third-ranked (Class 3A) NorthWood Thursday night. It will be the season opener for the Panthers. North Judson (1-1) plays at Wheeler on Saturday, Nov. 17.
• NORTH JUDSON 70,
Score by quarters
Judson: 14 27 46 70
Bremen 10 31 44 60
BREMEN: Jasmine Schafer 1 0-0 2, Cassie Sears 3 0-2 6, Brooke Fitch 0 0-0 0, Alexa Harshbarger 0 0-0 0, Ashley Lucchese 1 1-2 4, Sabrina Gilley 0 0-0 0, Megan Stouder 3 3-4 9, Sara Slabaugh 8 6-13 24, Rachel Czarnecki 2 1-2 5, Brooke Snyder 2 1-4 5, Alyssa Bailey 0 0-0 0, Chelsea Huppert 2 1-1 5. TOTALS: 22 13-28 60.
NORTH JUDSON: Lexi Messer 2 3-4 7, Haley Frasure 2 6-8 10, Megan Block 5 1-3 12, Kayla Zimmerman 1 11-15 13, Danielle Sallee 1 1-2 3, Mackenzie Brandt 0 1-2 1, Jordann Frasure 7 10-17 24, Darian Stalbaum 0 0-0 0, Amanda Rose 0 0-0 0, Taylor Brandt 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 18 33-51 70.
3-pointers: Bremen 3 (Slabaugh 2, Lucchese), N. Judson 1 (Block). Fouls (fouled out): Bremen 32 (Slabaugh, Schafer, Sears), North Judson 17 (none).
Records: Bremen 0-3, N. Judson 1-1.
JV: Bremen 21, North Judson 14