WARREN - Although the Raiders of Warren G. Harding switched up defenses to try to tame the Fighting Irish from Ursuline, it wasn't enough.
Ursuline's Tanaya Beacham led all scorers, knocking down 13 field goals en route to her 32 points in a 52-40 defeat of Warren G. Harding.
"I have to do what's best for my team and it was just for me to just take over and have a good game so our team could get that win," Beacham said.
Tribune Chronicle / R. Michael Semple
Warren G. Harding’s Chelsea Dipaolo (24)?takes a shot as Ursuline’s Simone Comer, left, and Macey Gunther defend during first-half action on Wednesday night.
Ursuline coach Sean Durkin looks for any way that he can help his squad get the win.
"At this point in time we needed a W," Durkin said. "We're 0-3 playing some very good teams in our first three games. So any way we could get this one we did it. Our girls are happy. They are not considering it ugly. They scrapped and they clawed and they did what they had to; and hopefully we can move on from here."
In the second half, Harding decided to make a bold move. Coming out of the locker room with the Irish up seven, coach Frank Caputo and his staff strategized a game plan to attempt to build a dam on Beacham's scoring. A defense called a box-and-one, which is when four defensemen play a zone while the final player face guards the opponent of their choice. Tonight's choice was Beacham - who scored 10 of her 24 points in the first half.
"Starting out we did pretty well with it," Caputo said. "They hit a couple shots, which will get you out of it, but when you have a player like that that can dominate a game, we just tried to switch something up. It worked for a little while but they caught on to it a little bit and had to switch it back up."
Durkin complimented Caputo on his game plan in the second half.
"It was smart," Durkin said. "It took us a couple possessions to kind of get the feel of it. We tried to do a couple of different things against it. But then we got the ball down low against it which was the key and we stretched the lead out and kind of took them out of it."
But the ingenious game plan the Raiders prepared for was not enough to get the win. Ursuline's Simone Comer added six more points, which allowed her team to acquire the lead to finish it off.
"It was a little nerve racking (the box-and-one defense) but you have to just fight through it keep trying to win for your team," Beacham said. "We just had to penetrate and dominate. When you have the ball you just have to go hard every time."
But the game came down to pressure. The Irish outscored the Raiders by a 9-point margin in the second half and they could not come back from it. In the third and fourth quarters, Ursuline only scored five more points than Harding, but the first half was just too much.
For Harding, Maya Bell drained four field goals and hit four shots from the charity stripe to lead her team with 12 points. Alongside Bell was Chelsea Dipaolo, who contributed two 3-pointers and made five foul shots for 11 points. All of her points were in the second half.
"We came out in the second half with a lot more energy than we came in the game with," Caputo said. "That's one thing we've been working on is being game ready to start the game and that was probably one of the best third quarters we have played all year. I was happy that they finally came out with a little intensity."
In order to keep the W's coming, the turnovers need to be contained.
"We are turning it over way too much," Durkin said. "But I actually think defensively we did a lot of nice things today. I think offensively we certainly need to take care of it a little bit better and start to execute is transition situations but I think we will get there."
Next up for Ursuline is a battle with Denver East on Friday night at 5:30 p.m. The Angels are in Youngstown to play three games - including the Hope Classic Basketball Showcase on Saturday at the Struthers Fieldhouse.
Warren G. Harding is back in action Saturday afternoon when it travels to Euclid for a 2 p.m. contest.