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Girls basketball: Dariyan Morris key in Merrillville’s win over Indians

Updated: February 20, 2013 6:15AM



MERRILLVILLE — With her team trailing Lake Central by two at halftime, Dariyan Morris felt she had some thinking to do.

Merrillville’s senior guard didn’t like the way she and her teammates played in the first two periods and felt a change was needed.

Pirates’ coach Amy Govert let it be known the team’s lethargy couldn’t continue. They needed to turn up the defensive pressure and increase their intensity.

The Pirates fell further behind early in the third period (31-26) before a 19-3 run overtook the Indians (10-7, 7-4) and lifted Merrillville to a 60-41 Duneland Athletic Conference win Friday night.

“The run obviously hurt us,” LC coach Marc Urban said. “They’re very good at turning up the pressure. I guess we panicked a little bit, but we’ll use it as a learning experience. I think we learned how we need to play in a big game with a tough atmosphere. We’ve got two weeks (until the sectionals start) to figure out how to be solid from the tip to the end.”

It was Merrillville’s 38th straight regular-season win and 26th straight in the DAC as it improved to 17-0 overall (11-0 in DAC).

“We challenged them at halftime,” Govert said. “I was fired-up, they were fired-up and they finally decided to go out and fight. That’s how we can play when we fight and defend someone. Lake Central is good and they played really hard the first half. We didn’t match (that intensity).”

While Morris and Victoria Gaines (10 points, 10 boards) had only two points each at the half, they picked the Pirates up in the final 16 minutes.

Morris scored 19 of her game-high 21 points then, including 15 in the final quarter when she made 11 of 12 free throws. After missing her first two attempts and her last, Morris ended up 13 of 16 from the stripe.

“I wasn’t playing my best at all the first half,” she said. “I did some serious thinking at halftime. I was thinking about the game — not thinking too hard about it — but just going out and playing. We needed to regroup, step up and play tough with them and we did.”

Sophomores Tara Zlotkowski and Lindsay Kusbel led LC with 12 points each.

“We played well for 28 minutes. It’s the four we didn’t, that they jumped all over us,” Urban said.



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