NEW CARLISLE — Midway through the second quarter, New Prairie girls basketball began to crawl back from an early 15-5 deficit built by turnovers and foul trouble.
It all began with sophomore forward Maddie McSurley grabbing an offensive rebound and dishing it out to senior point guard Libby Lapczynski. She caught the pass at the top of the key, looked to her right and fired a pass off to freshman guard Eva Dodds in the right-hand corner, standing just beyond the three-point arc.
Dodds knew immediately what to do with it when the ball came her way, firing up a long-range shot. She sent it through the net with a swish for her 10th of 13 points in an impressive high school debut.
"I've always been able to shoot pretty well," Dodds said. "I know I'm going to have to shoot a little more this season, but it was nice being able to score a good amount in that second quarter."
Herself and McSurley — who had a staggering 17 rebounds on the night and 12 in the first half alone — filled up the stat sheet in the Cougars’ 68-42 loss to visiting Concord Tuesday night, providing plenty of hope for a New Prairie team that has just one senior in Lapczynski.
"I've always focused a lot on rebounding," McSurley said. "Last year I grabbed, like, 150. So this year I'm trying to get even more than that. It's hard when you're going up against six-footers like Concord has, but you just have to box out really hard and play aggressive."
Dodds’ scoring outburst in the second quarter that included a pair of triples helped the Cougars inch their way back into a game that looked all but over after a sloppy first quarter of play.
The Minutemen jumped out to an early double-digit lead by applying a full-court press all night long, beginning on New Prairie’s opening possession. Lapczynski kept her cool in breaking it, but her younger teammates felt the pressure early, turning the ball over 14 times in the opening half. This, paired with plenty of foul trouble, allowed Concord to get easy buckets and a bevy of offensive possessions, forcing the Cougars to play catch-up from that point on.
"In games against teams as good as Concord, I always try to take positives away," said New Prairie coach Todd Dermody. "Some of those were definitely Eva and Libby. For an underclassmen to fill it up like Eva did, and hustle and grab rebounds like Libby did, I'm really happy about that. But I came into tonight saying if we can limit turnovers, box out and take and make open shots, then we'd play well tonight. In that second quarter, we did all those things and I was really pleased with that. Unfortunately, we couldn't string all those together for all four quarters."
Concord 68, New Prairie 42
The Cougars' Eva Dodds had 13 points and Maddie McSurley earned 17 rebounds.