By Rob Kiser
SIDNEY — There is no denying the exuberance and enthusiasm a young Lehman Catholic girls basketball team brings to the basketball floor.
And Lehman coach Craig Hall knows the team — which features just three upperclassmen — might add a few gray hairs to his head as well.
“I think this is probably a team that is a lot of fun to watch, but not as much fun to coach,” Hall said with a smile after a 53-45 loss to New Bremen Tuesday in non-conference girls basketball action. “Because I am on the wrong end of it (as coach). We have one senior and two juniors. Mistakes are going to happen and we are going to learn from them.”
Only one thing disappointed Hall after he watched his team battle back from double-digit deficits twice Tuesday.
“What ended up beating us is what I told the kids before the game,” Hall said. “New Bremen is a physical team — we rely more on our speed — and we just gave up two many second-chance opportunities to them.”
After getting themselves in an early 19-6 hole early in the second quarter, a steal and layup by Alanna O’Leary seemed to spark the Cavs.
Abby Schutt added a basket, O’Leary scored again and Lauren McFarland hit a basket and added two free throws to get Lehamn within 23-16 at the break.
Early in the third quarter, O’Leary scored off a Rylie McIver assist and Grace Monnin added a putback to get Lehman within 25-20.
New Bremen answered with three 3-pointers — two by Kelly Naylor and one by Hanna Tenkman — along with some second-chance points to go on a 16-5 run to explode to a 41-25 lead late in the third quarter — and it could have been worse if not for a three by Lehman’s Brogan McIver in the middle of the run.
“New Bremen is a physical team and they were able to hurt us on the offensive glass tonight,” Hall said.
Lehman wasn’t done — stepping up things on the defensive end, Lehman ran off 11 straight points to get within 41-36 early in the fourth quarter.
It started with baskets by Monnin and Brogan McIver — the latter off a steal.
“We are definitely a high energy team,” Hall said. “We definitely create offense with our defense.”
Then McFarland, just a freshman, scored six straight points on a three and a 3-point play — with another freshman, Rylie McIver adding one of two free throws to make it 41-36 with 7:01 to play.
“I thought we got some good play from our freshman (Lauren McFarland, Rylie McIver, Abby Schutt) tonight,” Hall said. “I don’t want to bring them along too fast and have them get discouraged or lose confidence.”
Lehman closed within three twice at 43-40 after a McFarland steal and layup and 45-42 on a Hannah Fogt jumper, but that was as close as the Lady Cavaliers could get.
McFarland would finish with 15 points on five of six shooting from the floor and four of five from the line.
“Lauren (McFarland) is just a very smart player,” Hall said. “Her sister Maddy is out with an ACL injury and she is exactly the same way. A lot of Lauren’s points came penetrating to the basket and I always say, when you penetrate, good things are going to happen. Lauren is just a really heady player.”
Fogt added 13 rebounds for Lehman, while O’Leary had eight points and six rebounds and Monnin also scored eight points.
Kayla Berman had 12 points and seven rebounds for New Bremen, while Naylor scored 12 points and Tenkman added nine. Molly Smith also grabbed seven rebounds.
Lehman was 18 of 46 from the floor for 39 percent and seven of 16 from the line for 44 percent.
New Bremen was 20 of 44 from the floor for 45 percent and seven of 19 from the line for 37 percent.
Lehman won the battle of the boards 31-29, but had 23 turnovers to New Bremen’s 21.
The Cavaliers, 2-4, will take that youthful enthusiasm right back to the floor Thursday against Houston.
“There is no question, this is going to be a team to reckon with at some point,” Hall said.
And then the coach will enjoy the game as much as the fans.
New Bremen (53)
Hanna Tenkman 3-1-9, Kelly Naylor 4-1-12, Amanda Brown 0-0-0, Kayla Berman 6-0-12, Jane Homan 3-1-7, Brianna Arling 2-1-5, Molly Smith 1-0-2, Macy Puthoff 0-1-1, Abbie Thieman 1-2-5. Totals: 20-7-53.
Lehman Catholic (45)
Carly Edwards 0-0-0, Grace Monnin 4-0-8, Alanna O’Leary 3-2-8, Brogan McIver 3-0-7, Hannah Fogt 2-0-4, Abby Schutt 1-0-2, Lauren McFarland 5-4-15, Rylie McIver 0-1-1. Totals: 18-7-45.
3-point field goals — New Bremen: Tenkman (2), Naylor (3), Thieman. Lehman: Brogan McIver, McFarland.
Score By Quarters
New Bremen 13 23 41 53
Lehman 6 16 32 45
Records: Lehman Catholic 2-4, New Bremen 3-4.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.