J-E girls hoops rallies past Ludden

It already promised to be a memorable period for Jordan-Elbridge's girls basketball program, with head coach Leslie Ahern about to have her baby at any moment.

And with Ahern running the show from the bench Friday night, it got even more memorable.

Turning up its play on both ends of the floor, the Eagles came from behind in the fourth quarter and knocked off Bishop Ludden 71-63.

This win completely reshaped the OHSL Liberty division race. Not only did J-E improve to 4-1, it gave the Gaelic Knights (4-2, 4-1 league) its first league loss, meaning that Westhill moves into first place - for the time being.

In between the Eagles' 50-26 win over Phoenix earlier in the week and the battle with Ludden, Ayers twice had to miss practices, leaving the duties to assistant coach Mark Fietta, who will also take over during Ayers' maternity leave.

This did not distract the Eagles one bit from its primary task - namely, trying to keep up with Ludden's high-octane attack, both inside and outside.

All J-E could do was match baskets in a swiftly-paced first half. With everyone on the floor contributing baskets, the Eagles didn't let the Gaelic Knights get clear, so Ludden went to halftime with a 39-36 lead.

That margin didn't change in the third quarter, but in the paint, forward Molly Hourigan was starting to alter Ludden shots. In all, Hourigan would pick up seven blocks, six of them after the break.

Those blocks began to lead to fast breaks and J-E baskets on the other end in the fourth quarter. This allowed the Eagles to surge in front, and its depth and balance allowed them to outscore Ludden 23-12 in those final eight minutes.

Hourigan backed up her defense with 15 points, which teamamte Natalie Andrianos would match. Kali Davis came up with 13 points, while Amanda Wheeler produced 11 points and Liz Caspari gained 10 points.

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