The Loyola girls basketball team got off to a good start, slumped in the second half but was able to hold off Harlan down the stretch to earn a 56-43 win Tuesday in Chicago in the season opener.

“Goal No. 1 was to get out of here with a win,” Loyola head coach Jeremy Schoenecker told his team after the game. “We did that.”

Up 14-7 after one quarter, the Ramblers raced to a 34-15 by the break. But the Falcons used their full-court pressure to outscore Loyola 17-11 in the third quarter.

Harlan got as close as 50-43 with 2 minutes, 52 seconds to go in the fourth. Loyola junior guard Erin Dillon answered by hitting a 3-pointer from the corner 43 seconds later. On the following possession, Loyola junior forward Lilly Wehman rebounded a missed shot on a fast break and scored to put the Ramblers ahead 55-43 with 1:48 remaining. The 6-foot-2 Wehman missed her entire sophomore season with a torn ACL in her right knee.

“We got some clean looks in the first half and knocked down some shots,” Schoenecker said. “It was crazy basketball in the second half. We have to understand ball pressure better. We have to make ourselves more available when someone gets in trouble.”

Schoenecker said it’s good for the Ramblers, who committed 17 turnovers in the second half, to see intense pressure this early in the season. He said Phillips, the team’s next opponent, will play a similar style to Harlan’s. Loyola plays the Wildcats on Thursday in Chicago in the second game of New Trier’s Thanksgiving tournament.

“The sooner you see it, the better off you will be,” Schoenecker said. “Over time, we will get more comfortable against it.”

Sophomore guard Julia Martinez (pictured above) led Loyola scorers with 16 points. Senior guard Madison Kane followed with 12 points. In her first varsity game since her freshman season, Wehman scored eight points. Junior guard Addie Morrill (7), Dillon (6), senior forward Leigh Kinsler (3), senior forward Clare Nelson (2) and sophomore guard Celia Satter (2) rounded out the team scoring.

Photo credit: Melissa Krein/Loyola