FORT WAYNE – March certainly seems a long time ago for the Concordia and Bishop Luers girls basketball teams.
Each program was in the state finals nine months ago but, because of graduations, neither team today resembles the teams that played in the 3A and 2A title games in Terre Haute.
In a battle of the revamped squads, the host Cadets posted a 50-39 victory Friday.
Were maybe not as young (as Luers), but we are not that experienced, Concordia coach Dave Miller said. We are just trying to get better every day, and I think we are.
Class 3A No. 9 Concordia (7-2, 2-0 SAC) benefited from a 23-6 lead in the second quarter after an 11-0 run.
We got that lead, and that helped us, Miller said. That made it a little more comfortable to hold onto that double-digit lead the rest of the game.
The Cadets pushed the margin to 25-7 in the second. The closest the Knights came was 11 in the fourth.
Junior Courtney Smith, one of the holdovers from the 3A state title team, had 13 points and was matched by sophomore DeJour Young.
We knew this would be our first big game, and we knew we would give it our all and we brought it, Smith said. Coach told us they were bigger than us, and they had the advantage that way, but we got on them defensively because they are a good team, and even though they were bigger than us, we had a bigger heart.
Another returning player, senior Olivia Hahn, added nine points.
We stepped up, Smith said. We didnt think this would happen (the double-digit win).
The Knights, who are receiving votes in 2A poll, have little experience returning from the 2A state runner-up team and a team that has reached the last three 2A title games, winning the 2011 title.
Luers has four freshmen and two sophomores on its varsity roster.
I am tired of that excuse, Luers coach Denny Renier said of the youth. We are just not executing on either end of the floor. Every game we lose, we get behind 17 points or 15 points. Tonight, we get down 23-6, and against Concordia your chances of winning are diminished by 98 percent. We played better in the second half.
Bishop Luers (4-6, 0-2) got 14 points from junior Erin Butler. Freshman Emma Wolfe added nine points for the Knights.
Its a combination of different things that we seem to be doing, Renier said. It is just frustrating to the kids and to the coaches.
I told them they only thing we can do is wipe the slate clean, start over and begin to correct these things. You have to start doing it, and not wishing it would be done.
Luers had 11 turnovers in the first half and was able to trim that to six miscues in the second half.
It still never got to the point that I was comfortable because of their shooters, Miller said of the lead.