Eckhoff sends Lady Cards to Rd. 2

LITTLE ROCK — In the six previous games against Glen Rose prior to last Thursday, the Harmony Grove Lady Cardinals were 1-5. After tromping the Lady Beavers 42-22 Thursday, Harmony Grove extended its season at least one more game after beating Glen Rose 43-31 Tuesday in the first round of the 5-3A District Tournament at Episcopal in Little Rock.
“It’s elimination time and if you don’t get the job done you go home,” Head Coach John White said.
With senior Katie Wright leading the way over the past few games, senior center Michelle Eckhoff stole the spotlight on Tuesday leading Harmony Grove with 14 huge points, including two big 3-pointers in the first quarter.
“I thought Michelle really stepped up and had a really good ballgame,” White said. “She rebounded all night long and just played and excellent, excellent game. We went to her when we needed to and she came through.’
While Eckhoff’s big night was a big key in the win, the Lady Cardinals’ performance from the free-throw line played a large role as well. Harmony Grove hit 18 of 24 (75 percent) from the line.
“We had several girls really step up and hit free throws and play a really good ballgame,” White said.
Harmony Grove took a slim lead into halftime, up just three, 17-14. It was the second-half surge that put the Lady Cardinals over the top and into the second round of district.
Harmony Grove gave up six points in the third quarter, outscoring the Lady Beavers 11-6 to lead 28-19 with eight minutes left. The Lady Cardinals slacked up minimal on defense in the fourth quarter but had already put the nail in the coffin early. Glen Rose put 11 on the board in the fourth while Harmony Grove dropped 15.
Sophomore guard Morgan Efrid put together another stellar performance against Glen Rose as well, scoring nine for the second straight game against the Lady Beavers.
“Morgan has been solid for us for most of the year,” White said. “She played the whole game and did a good job defensively. She has been really solid as of late.”
Efrid, along with a few others, are having to fill the absence of junior Kristen Dempsey who is battling a knee injury.
Wright cooled off, adding six points in the win while sophomore Cassie Dixon put up five.
The Lady Cardinals get a familiar foe in Round 2 when they take on Fountain Lake.
“We have got to try and keep them off balance offensively,” White said. “We’ve tried some zone and some man the first two times we played them, but we have to do something that slows them down. If we can hold them somewhere around 40 points then I think we have a chance to win. Both times we played them (this year) they have just score more points than we could score.”
Harmony Grove fell to the Lady Cobras by a combined 120-68 in two games this season.
Opening tip is set for 4 p.m. today in Round 2 at Little Rock Episcopal.