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FORT WAYNE — The deficit was 11 points when halftime came for Churubusco girls’ basketball Thursday night.
The height of hosting Fort Wayne Blackhawk Christian used a 9-0 run in the second quarter to build up a 21-10 lead at the break.
A pressure defense by the Lady Eagles saw the double digit erased in the second half. However, a short-lived 29-28 lead disappeared in the fourth quarter as Blackhawk used free throws to hold off Churubusco 38-34.
“The second half was probably our best half we’ve played this year,” Churubusco head coach Jamie Perlich said. “The emotion and intensity and the way we came out and hit some shots.”
The Lady Eagles needed a big second half after a low scoring first half got away from them in the second quarter.
Blackhawk’s 8-5 lead after one quarter quickly grew after ’Busco’s Kasey Gibson hit a three-pointer to tie the game 8-8.
The three was one of only two field goals for Churubusco in the second quarter.
For nearly a five minute stretch, the Lady Braves went on a 9-0 run grabbing all their points in the paint with the height of Allison Kauffman, Jessica Walters and Olivia Zehr, who all shoot close to six foot tall.
Buckets by each player in the trio helped Blackhawk lead 21-10 by the end of the first half.
“We came out really flat in the first half,” Perlich noted. “Dug ourselves a hole. We’re reacting real well on defense and we’re able to hit some shots.
“Second half I thought we came out and had some energy. The girls played with excitement.”
The Lady Eagles went 10 deep on the bench in the second half using two five-player substitution rotations.
“I can sub five in and we don’t lose anything on offense,” Perlich stated. “We don’t lose anything defensively and I think that’s going to help us.”
A half court trapping defense put Blackhawk in an offensive struggle.
Back-to-back steals by the Lady Eagles opened an 8-2 run in the third quarter.
Buckets by Heather Monk and Haleigh Gross cut the lead to 23-16 midway through the third. ’Busco had 13 steals for the game.
Gross scored all 10 of her team-high 10 points in the second half. The junior guard closed the gap to five points at the end of the third period hitting the last of her seven points in the third quarter on a three-pointer.
The perimeter game became important for both teams in the fourth quarter.
Gross’s second three-pointer of the night gave Churubusco its first lead 26-25 less than a minute into the final period.
Blackhawk and ’Busco traded off three-pointers on the next three scoring possessions ultimately giving the Braves the lead 31-29.
Eleven of Kauffman’s game-high 21 points came in the fourth quarter for Blackhawk. Kauffman hit the Braves only two three-pointers for the game in the fourth.
The Lady Braves center held off Churubusco despite a three-pointer by senior Nicole Wormcastle to cut the lead to 36-34.
With 7.7 seconds left, Kauffman wrapped up the game hitting two free throws.
“Good second half,” Perlich said. “Hopefully we learn from our mistakes at the end. We were in a position where we could of pulled this out.”