Four double-digit scorers and a key halftime adjustment helped the Harpeth Lady Indians down White House 62-50 on the road last Friday.
Harpeth’s Allie Bledsoe and Lexi Hearn each scored 15 points, while Liza Watson finished with 13 and Cara Stuart added 10. Those four stepped up for junior Jessi Knall, who was held scoreless.
The Lady Indians (5-10) led just 28-26 at halftime after struggling to break the White House press. Harpeth coach Karley Miller tried to calm her team during the break, and it worked.
“We kind of panicked and had way too many turnovers,” Miller said. “We made the adjustment at halftime, talking to the girls about being calm, focused and mature. They got it done in the second half.”
White House (5-10) stayed within striking distance thanks to 13 points from Emma Wall and 11 from Avery Droz. However, the deficit piled up over time, and an 11-2 Harpeth run to start the fourth quarter was too much for the Lady Blue Devils to overcome.
“That’s what we’ve been doing the last few games,” White House coach Kelly Smelcer said. “We let (the deficit) build up, and then we make a run in the fourth quarter, but the hole was too deep again.”
Miller, a former Harpeth standout who later played at Lee University, is in her first year at the helm. This offseason, she installed an up-tempo offense in hopes of better results. Harpeth finished 3-23 last year.
“I’m a firm believer that you have to get stops (on defense) and then push the ball,” Miller said. “We’re not very good when we walk the ball down the floor – that allows the defense to get set and ready for us. We’re much better when we just go.”
That change was difficult at first, and Harpeth lost seven of its first eight games. But Miller said her team, which has won three of its last five games, is settling in to the new philosophy.
“They are finally buying in and understanding the system and why we do what we do,” she said. “Early on, I pushed them really hard. It was a big adjustment, and they didn’t understand why we were going so hard.”
Meanwhile, the rebuild at White House is taking time. The Lady Blue Devils have lost six straight after their 4-2 start to the season. They went 5-20 overall and 1-11 in District 9-AA last season.
“It takes several years to change the culture,” said Smelcer, who is in her second season. “I feel like we’ve definitely taken a step in the right direction. The girls still have their heads up and know what we need to do to get better. We just have to keep fighting.”
Harpeth travels to Sycamore on Tuesday, while White House will be at Cheatham County. Both games tip at 6 p.m.
Harpeth (62): Allie Bledsoe 15, Lexi Hearn 15, Liza Watson 13, Cara Stuart 10, Autumn Devilling 9.
White House (50): Emma Wall 13, Avery Droz 11, Bailey Newman 9, Alexis Bess 6, Faithe Johnstone 6, Baylee Miller 4, Chloe Hart 1.