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Girls basketball: Strong second half lifts Merrillville past LaPorte

Updated: January 9, 2013 6:12AM



MERRILLVILLE — Amy Govert was feeling terribly ill the past couple of days. The Merrillville head coach was so sick she left shortly after the game to be checked out and treated.

Even though their coach was feeling blue, the Pirates (7-0, 4-0) more than likely made her feel at least a little bit better with their second-half performance against LaPorte Friday night.

It was during those final two quarters that Merrillville utilized its quickness to double the score on the Slicers (6-2, 2-2) in the second half and emerge with a 52-30 Duneland Athletic Conference victory.

“We got out-hustled the first half, but in the second half we started to get a little bit more aggressive and got some stops, and came up with some steals, and that got our transition game going and helped us break it open,’’ Govert said.

Victoria Gaines led the Pirates with 14 points and 10 rebounds, while Dariyan Morris added 11 points and Jaz Talley scored nine.

The Pirates were settling for outside jumpers and jacking up 3-pointers in the first half in addition to being out-hustled and nearly outplayed. Nevertheless, they took a 22-15 lead to the locker room at the break.

“The kids weren’t happy the first half either, because they knew it was sloppy,’’ Govert said. “This was one of those games where the kids had to be self-motivated.’’

LaPorte made some key mistakes late in the second quarter that were costly.

“The last two minutes or so there of the first half, definitely hurt us,’’ LaPorte coach Skeeter Heath said. “We had a couple of silly turnovers and missed a couple of blockouts. You can’t do that against a team that hits the backboards like they do.’’

The Pirates did a good job of not letting point guard Jaclyn Heath — who scored only seven points — hurt them.

“They’re very active with their hands and when they get their hands in there, they knock the ball away and they get steals,’’ Heath said.

“Those steals start their transition game and once they get the transition game going, it puts us in deep do-do.’’

Kelsey Gushrowski scored 14 points to lead LaPorte, while Taylor Thompson added eight.



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