GIRLS BASKETBALL

Lowell returns Kreutz, dominates Griffith for unbeaten NCC record

2013-01-25T21:30:00Z 2013-01-26T00:46:04Z Lowell returns Kreutz, dominates Griffith for unbeaten NCC recordHillary Smith hillary.smith@nwi.com, (219) 933-3233 nwitimes.com

LOWELL | Lowell's goal of repeating as Northwest Crossroads Conference girls basketball champions was realized nearly two weeks ago.

On Friday, the Red Devils became the fourth consecutive team to capture the conference championship with an unbeaten record.

In the process of topping Griffith 60-16, the Red Devils regained one electric scorer and found the swift hand of another.

Lowell returned Mackenzie Kreutz after the senior center missed four games with an ankle injury sustained Jan. 8 against Merrillville. Kreutz scored the first two points of the game, and finished with nine.

"When Mackenzie went out, we lost 20 (points), 10 (rebounds), but we also lost our emotional leader and you could see that," Lowell coach Matt Welsh said. "You could see it tonight, the first time she drives, she gets a layup. ... We were not the same team without her."

Kreutz said that she hurt the ankle again in practice on Thursday, but woke up Friday morning with no pain and knew she was ready to play.

"I felt like I wanted to help the team and physically couldn't," Kreutz said, "that was hard. Now I feel great."

Meanwhile, sophomore guard Hunter Jusevitch scored 15 points, hitting four 3s and she sunk all three free throws when she was fouled on a shot behind the arc.

"I asked Hunter if she was ready to go," Welsh said. "She's been struggling with her shot, and I got on her a little bit about it. She handled it well and responded today."

After losing senior swingman Taylor Austin with 2:15 left in the second quarter to an ankle injury, Griffith was held to two points -- hit from the free-throw line -- in the second half.

"I thought we executed really well in the first half on offense, and I told our girls there was nothing to be embarrassed about, because we got the shots, they just weren't falling," Griffith coach Tom Golumbeck said. "When we lost Taylor, that was hard. She brings a lot of energy and she was a big part of our game plan."

The Panthers will learn if they'll have Austin for the postseason after X-rays are taken on her ankle.

Alyssa Gebo led Griffith (11-8, 3-3) with seven points, scoring both free-throw shots in the fourth quarter.

Katie Bobos scored 10 points with a game-high seven rebounds for the Red Devils (15-3, 6-0).

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