Girls basketball: Foran's defense sparks win over Harding

Foran High used its high-pressure defense to create an abundance of turnovers, including 21 via steals, on the way to a convincing 63-36 triumph over host Harding of Bridgeport on Monday night.

With the win, the Lions improved to 2-0 and Harding slipped to 0-4.

Mia Tunucci and Sam Inthapanhya each had six steals, while Jasmine Lord accounted for four thefts for the Lions.

Lord and Tunucci led the offensive effort with 19 and 18 points, respectively.

Inthapanhya and Lauren Heenan each added nine points.

On the surface, it doesn’t seem like much else could have gone right for coach Bob Asmussen’s bunch.

“I’m happy being 2-0, but I don’t think we’ve hit our stride yet,” he said. “There’s a lot of room for growth. We’ve still got to improve our rebounding and defensive effort, and being patient on offense. Patience will allow us to get open looks.”

That said, he was mostly-pleased with his team’s rebounding prowess.

“I don’t think they had many second-chance points,” Asmussen pointed out.

Tunucci and Inthapanhya led the team’s defensive effort with strong play in the backcourt, as well as the frontcourt for that matter.

“I liked the passing, I liked the teamwork, I liked how aggressive we were,” Asmussen said.

Whatever Harding tried to throw at Foran, the Lions were ready with zone and man coverage defensive schemes. And when the Lions had the ball, they scored a lot in transition thanks to that defensive work, and in a variety of ways in the half court.

“We played multiple defenses, and the girls did a really good job switching back and forth,” Asmussen said. “We ran a lot of different offensive sets,” adding that he has a veteran group that can handle the variations well.

The Lions took control early.

Lord beat the buzzer with a right corner 3-pointer to end the first quarter to put Foran ahead, 16-4.

To begin the second period, Lord picked up where she left off, converting another 3-point play with a basket and a foul shot.

The lead grew 21-4 before Harding three times got the deficit down to a dozen.

Foran scored the last four points of the half with Courtney Musante coming away with a steal and assisting Inthapanhya on a basket down low.

The Lions led 33-17 by halftime.

A quick catch-and-shoot 3-pointer from the right corner by Heenan put more points on the board only seconds into the third quarter.

Harding fans didn’t get a chance to celebrate a shot block for long, as Heenan gathered the ball in and scored immediately after the rejection for a 46-23 lead. Tunucci rattled home a 3-pointer from the left elbow to extend the lead to 49-23 with 2:30 left in the third.

It was 55-26 heading into the fourth.

Inthapanhya had six assists and seven rebounds. Tunucci led Foran with 12 rebounds and had multiple shot blocks. Lord collected eight rebounds.