With two starters out of the lineup, Independence turned in a strong performance against Lutheran West on Tuesday but the Blue Devils couldn’t hold onto a late lead and fell to the Longhorns, 49-42.
“We were in the thick of it but we had two starters out. We didn’t have Julia Riley, she’s out hurt, and Jess Dmitruk was home with the flu, but we were in a position to win,” said Independence coach Mike Marcinko. “Midway through the fourth quarter we were up one or two.”
That’s when the Longhorns made their run, helped by a few Independence miscues.
“A lot of it was turnovers,” Marcinko said. “We had more than our fair share of turnovers in the fourth quarter and we had some decent looks that we missed. That’s kind of what turned the tide in the fourth quarter. We got kind of cold and they got a little hot. We turned the ball over, they hit free throws. You go from five up to three down or five down in a hurry when that occurs.”
Lutheran West went 6-for-6 at the free throw line down the stretch to seal its win.
“With a minute to go at least three times we fouled to get them to the line because we were down,” Marcinko said. “It was probably a toss-up game until there was about a minute or a minute and a half left. They were up three to five and we needed to foul.”
Senior Hallie Zumack led the Blue Devils with a 20-point effort.
“She shot it well most of the first half,” Marcinko said. “She was 5-for-6 from the line in the second half and hit seven field goals. She carried the load for us with people out.”
Megan Kuczmarski was second on the team with eight points despite being sidelined for most of the first half.
“She got in foul trouble early,” Marcinko said. “Lutheran West has a really good post player and they battled and got her in foul trouble midway through the first quarter. She sat for most of the first half. It hurt not having your tallest girl in there. She had 15 rebounds and 12 points at Columbia (on Saturday).”
Hannah Walker also turned in a strong performance for the Blue Devils. She scored seven points and pulled down some tough rebounds.
Independence hosts Valley Forge on Saturday.