If one is by land and two is by sea, is three by bus?
New Haven’s Lady Shamrocks used the three-point shot to move past the South Shelby Lady Birds Wednesday during Class 2 Sectional action at Hannibal High School, 55-44.
“We played really well,” New Haven Head Coach Doug Peirick said. “We handled it pretty well. We were outnumbered in crowd size. I thought we played well from the get-go. We ran our offense, got good shots and good looks at the basket.”
New Haven senior Emily Scheer, who led New Haven with 18 points, is pleased to keep playing.
“It feels incredible,” Scheer said about making the quarterfinals. “It’s nice to know all of this hard work paid off. We didn’t give up in this game. Last year, we came up here and lost by two in a pretty tough game. Getting this win this year felt incredible.”
New Haven gets another lengthy bus trip Saturday, facing Northeast of Cairo (23-6) in the quarterfinals at Moberly Area Community College. The game tips off at 1 p.m. with the winner advancing to next week’s Class 2 semifinals at the John Q. Hammons Arena in Springfield Thursday at 5:10 p.m.
Peirick’s Lady Shamrocks (18-9) hit seven three-point baskets in the victory over South Shelby (20-9).
Four players hit three-point shots with 1,000-point scorers Lauren Gerlemann (three) and Scheer (two) accounting for five of them. Mackenzie Bauer and Emma Engelbrecht each had one three-point basket.
“Lauren Gerlemann usually scores inside for us, but she was on fire from the three-point line,” Scheer said. “That really helped us out. Several other people knocked down outside shots and that got us rolling. We kept up that momentum to get a win.”
“Lauren has hit maybe five threes all season and she hit three tonight,” Peirick said. “They didn’t expect that. She was wide open and they didn’t expect her to shoot. She knocked them down. Emily got a couple in there. We were able to run our offense and were able to execute. With the threes, that gave us a little breathing room and a little room for error but not much because that was a very good team.”
Peirick stuck with his “Iron Five,” seniors Gerlemann, Scheer, Bauer, Engelbrecht and Kate Ruediger, and they were able to play the entire game.
“Those seniors have been through a lot. They’re great volleyball players, great track kids and one of them played softball. They just know how to win. They compete for every play, every game. That’s all you can ask for and they came out on top tonight.”
Playing in front of a sea of red at Hannibal High School, the Lady Shamrocks had the daunting task of being in a hostile environment for the game. It didn’t faze New Haven, however.
“Their crowd was pretty intimidating,” Scheer said. “We were getting worked with ballhandling quite a bit. We probably had too many turnovers, but we found a way to get out of it, knock out some shots and win. We just had to block out the crowd.”
Gerlemann was next with 15 points.
Bauer and Ruediger scored eight points apiece while Engelbrecht scored six.
South Shelby had its own three-point threats and senior Caitlyn Poore was the first to hit from outside the arc.
Poore, South Shelby’s leading scorer, also ended with 18 points for the game. She hit her two three-point baskets in the first and fourth quarters, but the Lady Shamrocks were able to silence her from beyond the arc through most of the game.
Logan Wise, a senior, hit the other two three-point baskets and ended with eight points.
Other South Shelby scorers were junior Diane Mayes with six points, senior Alexis Higbee with four and senior Lillian Wegman with three points.
Scheer knocked down New Haven’s first three, but South Shelby took the lead on a five-point Poore run as she hit a pair of free throws and a three. Higbee added a basket to make it 7-3.
New Haven chipped back and took the lead, 10-9, on a three from Gerlemann. The two teams traded the advantage down the stretch before Engelbrecht tied it on a free throw and Gerlemann scored to give the Lady Shamrocks a 13-11 edge at the end of a quarter.
New Haven made it an eight-point run, scoring the first five on a two from Ruediger and another Gerlemann three.
Ruediger and Bauer knocked down threes through the quarter as New Haven built up a 28-19 lead at halftime.
“That helped,” Peirick said. “That means the other team has to work extra hard to get back into the ballgame. When you have to fight back from a deficit like that, it can take a lot out of you.”
A three from Scheer made it a double-digit lead early in the third quarter, 31-21. New Haven continued to grind forward, controlling rebounds and pushing to the basket. It was 41-25 going to the fourth quarter.
New Haven continued to hold the lead through the fourth quarter. New Haven turnovers and a South Shelby hot streak cut the lead to six points, 44-38, but New Haven knocked down eight of 13 free-throw chances down the stretch to win by 11 points.
“It got a little tight in the fourth quarter,” Peirick said. “They made some big threes, but we didn’t panic, to our credit. We stayed within ourselves, handled the ball and were able to make our free throws down the stretch to seal the deal.”