Girls basketball: Pirates pummel Red Devils from start
By John O’Malley Post-Tribune correspondent January 8, 2013 11:12PM
Merrillville's A.J. Downs goes to the basket in the first quarter with Lowell's Amy Fraikin defending at Merrillville High School Tuesday evening. | Jeffrey D. Nicholls~Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 10, 2013 6:09PM
MERRILLVILLE — The pregame matchup between Merrillville and Lowell seemed appealing and intriguing.
As it turned out, though, the game ended up a lot like Monday night’s BCS national championship football game between Alabama and Notre Dame — no contest.
The athletic and cat-quick Pirates (14-0) scored the game’s first 10 points, before cruising to a 22-point halftime advantage on their way to a 63-33 dismantling of Lowell (11-2) Tuesday night.
“I thought we made a statement right from the beginning of the game,’’ Pirates coach Amy Govert said. “Unlike in some of the slow starts we’ve had, we came out ready to attack and really took it to them. I thought overall, it was a good game for us.’’
Senior Dariyan Morris scored a game-high 18 points — swishing a trio of 3-point baskets — to lead the Pirates to their 35th straight regular-season victory.
Merrillville sophomore Victoria Gaines scored 14 points, snared nine rebounds and blocked four shots, while Jaz Talley finished with 12 points.
Lowell lost center Mackenzie Kreutz to an ankle sprain in the opening minute, while Katie Bobos, who committed to West Florida, a Division II school, picked up her third foul with 15 seconds left in the first period and her fourth with 4:19 left in the first half. She fouled out with 4:33 remaining in the third period and scored only six points.
“We can’t match Merrillville’s speed, we can’t match their physicality out top, but you can’t have players like Mackenzie out and Bobos in foul trouble,’’ Lowell coach Matt Welsh said. “They executed better than we did. They have better athletes and better players.’’
When asked if he meant to take Bobos out before she picked up her third foul, Welsh said: ‘We knew what she had, but what are we going to do? We have to score somehow.’’
Welsh also picked up a technical foul as did one of his assistant coaches. In fact, the Red Devils had three techs called on them, including a scorebook violation.
Welsh said Kreutz is expected to miss at least two games (Hobart and Lake Central) with her ankle injury.
The Pirates, though, were just way too strong Tuesday night.
“We were focused and ready to play our best tonight,’’ Gaines said. “We all know our roles on this team and we just do what we have to do.’’
Morris, said the Pirates took the Red Devils is a real challenge.
“It was very aggressive defensively,’’ she said. “We kept our composure and were able to matchup with them well. My mindset tonight was just to stay out of foul trouble, keep my hands out, move my feet, and just be a leader on the floor for us.’’
Talley, meanwhile, likes the way the Pirates are coming together.
“We’re all jelling together and becoming a better team,’’ she said. “We’re confident right now as a team and we’re playing better together with one another.’’