LADY JUGGLERS HANG ON-TOP LADY WARRIORS 54-50
Whitesboro’s Jennifer Deuel (10) battles Jackie Hajec (44) for a loose ball late in the game.
Jeff Pexton-MHTS/PGI Photo
Whitesboro outscored Notre Dame 33-24 in the second half to keep this game up in the air right down to the wire.
Notre Dame, playing without leading scorer Emily Durr, who continues to nurse a deep elbow bruise, built leads as large as 16 points in the first half, before heading into the intermission with a 34-21 lead.
The first quarter saw Notre Dame apply intense pressure on defense, forcing five Whitesboro turnovers in the opening eight minutes of the contest.
Point guard Jordan Morgan did a great job penetrating the Warriors defense and once she got into the paint she immediately dished the ball out to Maggie Sehring, who hit four jumpers from the exact same spot on the left wing, scoring 8 of her 13 points in the first period of play.
Jackie Hajec chipped in 5 points of her own in the opening period and Notre Dame found themselves ahead 17-9 after quarter number one.
As Whitesboro paid more attention to Notre Dame’s Sehring in the second quarter, Jordan Morgan found another hot hand in Hajec, who nailed three pointers on consecutive trips down the floor to give Notre Dame a 31-15 lead with 4:07 remaining in the first half.
If not for a pair of critical three pointers from Whitesboro senior Jennifer Deuel, Notre Dame’s lead would have been significantly greater than 34-21 going into the intermission.
Whitesboro came out firing in the third quarter, mirroring the drive and dish offensive game plan that Notre Dame executed in the first sixteen minutes of the game.
Warriors guards Jennifer Deuel and Jordan Noga did a great job getting the ball to perimeter shooters Maria Lapertosa and Kaylee Gassner. Lapertosa, just a sophomore, fueled a 9-0 Whitesboro run to open the third quarter and the Lady Warriors were within 34-30 with 5:04 to go in the next to last period.
Maria Lapertosa had 8 of her 15 points and Jennifer Deuel dropped 9 of her game high 22 points in the third quarter and all of sudden Whitesboro was right back in it at 41-40 at the end of three frames.
Notre Dame’s Jordan Morgan played the entire third quarter with three fouls, but still managed three of Notre Dame’s 7 third quarter points and assisted on three others.
Whitesboro finally gained the upper hand for the first time in the game, less than a minute into the fourth quarter when Jennifer Deuel was fouled on a put back and then made it a three-point play with a perfect free throw, giving Whitesboro a 43-41 lead.
A three from Jackie Hajec on the next trip down the floor gave Notre Dame the lead again at 44-43 with 7:04 remaining in the game.
Despite the three personals, Jordan Morgan played the fourth quarter with the same fire that she showed in the first three.
Morgan’s consecutive baskets with under three minutes remaining in the game gave Notre Dame a 52-50 lead.
It was Notre Dame’s defense however, that ended up being the difference in this great back and forth basketball game.
The Jugglers caused turnovers on two critical inbound attempts by Whitesboro in the final minute of the game.
Jordan Morgan, Jackie Hajec and Anari Harris made 3 of 5 free throws down the stretch to ice this one for Notre Dame by a score of 58-54.
Whitesboro’s Jennnifer Deuel led all scorers with 22 points, 9 of which came from three-point land.
Maria Lapertosa chipped in 15 for the Lady Warriors as well.
Notre Dame was led by Anari Harris and Jackie Hajec who scored 17 each for the home team.
Though Jordan Morgan’s assist total was not available at the time this article is being written, it is safe to say she had something to do with just about every field goal Notre Dame notched tonight. Morgan finished with 11 points of her own.
With the win, Notre Dame improves to (4-1) in the Tri-Valley League, good enough for a tie for first place with Oneida (4-2). The Jugglers are now (9-5) overall on the season.
Whitesboro meanwhile, drops to (2-3) in the Tri-Valley, (8-4) overall and into 4th place in the TVL standings.
Next up for the Lady Warriors is a non-league game next Tuesday against Camden.
Notre Dame will next take on a non-league foe when they visit V-V-S next Tuesday.
Whitesboro and Notre Dame will meet again in the regular season finale on February 12th at Whitesboro.
Notre Dame 58 Whitesboro 54
1 2 3 4 Final
Whitesboro 9 12 19 14 54
Notre Dame 17 17 7 17 58
MHTS Scoring Summary:
Anari Harris 17
Jackie Hajec 17
Maggie Sehring 13
Jordan Morgan 11
Jenn Deuel 22
Maria Lapertosa 15
Lauren Lapertosa 7
Alexis Delahunt 5
Kaylee Gassner 3
Jordan Noga 2