Whitko Pulls Away In Second Half, Wins 4th In A Row

January 11, 2024 at 9:45 p.m.
Whitko junior Gwen Howard concentrates on her shot as Lakewood Park Christian's Jade Carnahan defends. Photo by Gary Nieter
Whitko junior Gwen Howard concentrates on her shot as Lakewood Park Christian's Jade Carnahan defends. Photo by Gary Nieter

By Connor McCann

Coming into Thursday night’s game with 10 wins in their last eleven games, the Whitko girls basketball team looked to keep it rolling against a solid Lakewood Park team that came into the contest with 13 wins. After an extremely competitive first half, the Lady ‘Cats were able to find some separation in the second, pulling way for a 68-41 victory.
Just four seconds were able to tick off of the clock before Whitko scored its first points of the game, an and-one layup by freshman Jayma Stonebreaker. It seemed as if this quick strike would be an indication of things to come, but that was not the case. The Lady ‘Cats suffered a cold stretch for the next portion of the quarter, unable to get any more points on the board until Kloe Krieg hit a three pointer four minutes later.
On the other side, Lakewood Park enjoyed a solid opening quarter, using some timely passing and methodical offense to get the ball down low, where more times than not, it resulted in a layup. The Panthers were able to parlay these successes into an early lead, putting some pressure on the home team to figure it out as they attempted to shake off the slow start.
Eventually, Whitko would get it going, taking a team approach that featured heavy ball movement and a ton of players getting open looks. Jayma’s older sister Reese was able to hit a few big shots in big moments, but the biggest make of the quarter belonged to Braisha Harrison, who nailed a three at the buzzer to cut the Lady ‘Cats’ deficit to three going into the second.

    Junior Braisha Harrison of Whitko nails a three-pointer during Thursday night's home game against Lakewood Park Christian. Photo by Gary Nieter
The big shot would invigorate Whitko, and the home side was able to seize the momentum and turn it into a strong start to the second quarter. It was here the Lady ‘Cats would take their first lead since the game’s opening seconds, but it would not last long. The Panthers were not going to go away, continuing to give Whitko fits while the home team played defense.
After weathering the storm, Lakewood Park was able to get back and front, leading to another exciting and back-and-forth few minutes. Both teams remained locked in, with neither side able to extend their lead past three or four points. The balanced attack for Whitko continued to pay dividends, with seven different players scoring in the first half. Once again, the biggest shot in the quarter would belong to Harrison, who splashed another last-second three to give her team a two-point lead going into halftime.
Krieg, the team’s leading scorer, finished with just three points in the first half. In the first minute of the third, she scored five as Whitko took its largest lead of the night so far at seven. Another difference that could be easily identified in the opening minutes of the second half was the increased intensity on the defensive end for the Lady ‘Cats. The Panthers, who had gotten to the lane at will for the first 16 minutes, were having a much harder time doing so, allowing the home side to continue extending its lead.
With two and a half minutes to go in the third, Kreig would hit her third three pointer to make her the first Whitko player in double figures, while also extending her team’s lead to double digits for the first time. After another big three from Jayma, the Lady ‘Cats would hold a 12-point advantage heading into the fourth and final quarter.
Similar to Krieg, Adriyanna Phillips was a player who did not do her usual scoring in the first half. After three quiet quarters, Phillips exploded in the fourth, hitting two clutch jumpers, one from a few feet behind the arc. She wouldn’t stop there, hitting a few more shots to join Kreig in double figures while also extending the lead to over 20. A few moments later, Harrison would hit her fourth three of the night to join the double-figures club.
With a once highly-contested game now all but decided, the contest’s final minutes were played by the bench of each side. Not much scoring took place outside of a tough layup and a pair of free throws made by Willow Osborn.
Phillips led the team with 15 points, 12 of them coming in the fourth quarter. Kreig had 14 points while Harrison finished with 12. Reese had five points and seven rebounds and Jayma had five points with five steals. Gwen Howard led the team in rebounding with nine boards.
Whitko (12-3) returns to action at home on Saturday against Southwood for a Three Rivers Conference matchup. The Lady ‘Cats are looking for their sixth TRC win of the year.



Coming into Thursday night’s game with 10 wins in their last eleven games, the Whitko girls basketball team looked to keep it rolling against a solid Lakewood Park team that came into the contest with 13 wins. After an extremely competitive first half, the Lady ‘Cats were able to find some separation in the second, pulling way for a 68-41 victory.
Just four seconds were able to tick off of the clock before Whitko scored its first points of the game, an and-one layup by freshman Jayma Stonebreaker. It seemed as if this quick strike would be an indication of things to come, but that was not the case. The Lady ‘Cats suffered a cold stretch for the next portion of the quarter, unable to get any more points on the board until Kloe Krieg hit a three pointer four minutes later.
On the other side, Lakewood Park enjoyed a solid opening quarter, using some timely passing and methodical offense to get the ball down low, where more times than not, it resulted in a layup. The Panthers were able to parlay these successes into an early lead, putting some pressure on the home team to figure it out as they attempted to shake off the slow start.
Eventually, Whitko would get it going, taking a team approach that featured heavy ball movement and a ton of players getting open looks. Jayma’s older sister Reese was able to hit a few big shots in big moments, but the biggest make of the quarter belonged to Braisha Harrison, who nailed a three at the buzzer to cut the Lady ‘Cats’ deficit to three going into the second.

    Junior Braisha Harrison of Whitko nails a three-pointer during Thursday night's home game against Lakewood Park Christian. Photo by Gary Nieter
The big shot would invigorate Whitko, and the home side was able to seize the momentum and turn it into a strong start to the second quarter. It was here the Lady ‘Cats would take their first lead since the game’s opening seconds, but it would not last long. The Panthers were not going to go away, continuing to give Whitko fits while the home team played defense.
After weathering the storm, Lakewood Park was able to get back and front, leading to another exciting and back-and-forth few minutes. Both teams remained locked in, with neither side able to extend their lead past three or four points. The balanced attack for Whitko continued to pay dividends, with seven different players scoring in the first half. Once again, the biggest shot in the quarter would belong to Harrison, who splashed another last-second three to give her team a two-point lead going into halftime.
Krieg, the team’s leading scorer, finished with just three points in the first half. In the first minute of the third, she scored five as Whitko took its largest lead of the night so far at seven. Another difference that could be easily identified in the opening minutes of the second half was the increased intensity on the defensive end for the Lady ‘Cats. The Panthers, who had gotten to the lane at will for the first 16 minutes, were having a much harder time doing so, allowing the home side to continue extending its lead.
With two and a half minutes to go in the third, Kreig would hit her third three pointer to make her the first Whitko player in double figures, while also extending her team’s lead to double digits for the first time. After another big three from Jayma, the Lady ‘Cats would hold a 12-point advantage heading into the fourth and final quarter.
Similar to Krieg, Adriyanna Phillips was a player who did not do her usual scoring in the first half. After three quiet quarters, Phillips exploded in the fourth, hitting two clutch jumpers, one from a few feet behind the arc. She wouldn’t stop there, hitting a few more shots to join Kreig in double figures while also extending the lead to over 20. A few moments later, Harrison would hit her fourth three of the night to join the double-figures club.
With a once highly-contested game now all but decided, the contest’s final minutes were played by the bench of each side. Not much scoring took place outside of a tough layup and a pair of free throws made by Willow Osborn.
Phillips led the team with 15 points, 12 of them coming in the fourth quarter. Kreig had 14 points while Harrison finished with 12. Reese had five points and seven rebounds and Jayma had five points with five steals. Gwen Howard led the team in rebounding with nine boards.
Whitko (12-3) returns to action at home on Saturday against Southwood for a Three Rivers Conference matchup. The Lady ‘Cats are looking for their sixth TRC win of the year.



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