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West Lafayette Lady Red Devils top The Harrison Lady Raiders, 70-48

November 13, 2012
West Lafayette Jr.-Sr. High School

The West Lafayette girls’ basketball team scored 26 points in the first quarter and never looked back, defeating backyard rival Harrison 70-48 at home in the last tune-up for before next week’s J&C Classic.

Grace Palmieri scored 23 points, 11 of those in the decisive first quarter, as West Side jumped to a 26-14 lead. The Red Devils (2-0) held on to their double-digit advantage throughout the game, using their transition game to keep Harrison off balance. Palmieri said her teammates wanted to play even better.

“We talked about getting off to a good start before the game,” Palmieri said. “On Tuesday, we got down 10-0 against Western and had to come back from that, and we didn’t want that to happen again. We weren’t very happy with our performance. It’s much easier to talk about what we did wrong on defense and giving up offensive rebounds.”

Harrison, playing its first game of the season, got in early foul trouble, forcing it to limit the time of several starters. West Lafayette shot 31 free throws in the game, making 19 of them. The Raiders, on the other hand, made just seven of 15 from the line.

“I think our nerves played into it in the first half, but not getting back on defense was the thing that killed us,” Harrison coach Jake Rettig said. “They ran everything that they’ve run for years and we just didn’t shut it down tonight. I think if Claire Muller could have stayed in the game, I think would have been a completely different game because we would have been able to go inside all night long.”

Muller was limited to eight points in 18 minutes of play. Courtney Jacobsen led the Raiders with 13 points, followed by Autumn Ringen’s 12.

West Lafayette increased its lead to 39-23 by halftime and went up by 24 points, 49-25, midway through the third quarter before Harrison started to chip away at the lead.

Jessica Martin added 13 points in the win, but Palmieri was the star of the show.

“It was (Palmieri’s) time,” said West Lafayette coach Jane Schott. “We worked very hard in the offseason to get ready, and you can see a big difference in their skill level. We’ve had times where we only scored 26 points in a game, so I’m pleased with that. We really committed to working on our transition game in the summertime, and our kids bought into it and did a nice job of finishing.”

It looked like Harrison would make a late run in the fourth quarter when a Shailen Johnson layup cut West Side’s lead to 61-45, but the Raiders went 0 for 6 and committed three turnovers over the next three minutes as West Side recovered to ice the game.

“We had a number of bright spots,” Rettig said. “We’re going to learn from this, get better and be ready to play Monday in the J&C Classic and see if we can make a little bit of a difference.”

— Clyde Hughes/For the Journal and Courier

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