Lions advance to District final
The Clear Lake and Garner-Hayfield/Ventura girls pushed each other to the limit Wednesday night, with the Lions emerging as the winner in the post-season second round game, 43-39.
“We knew the GHV game was going to be a tester for us,” said Clear Lake Coach Bart Smith.
And test them, they did.
After a close first quarter, GHV had as much as a nine point lead with under two minutes remaining in the second quarter. The Cards took a 26-21 lead into the locker room at halftime.
“Garner played a really good game and shut us down offensively for two and one-half quarters, but we found a way to be a little bit better the final one and one-half quarters to get a huge win,” said Smith.
GHV Coach Matt Erpelding said his team did a great job defensively taking away Clear Lake’s three point shooting, but the other area of concern heading into the game was containing their dribble penetration. As it turned out, that was the area of the game that ended up being the difference.
“I felt we did an adequate job of controlling (penetration), but by getting the calls at the rim they were able to outscore us 12-3 at the free throw line as a result of shooting 17 attempts to our three,” said Erpelding. “We struggled the entire second half executing what we were trying to run offensively. Give their defense credit, as they caused us trouble getting into sync. It seemed like we just couldn’t get that one break that we needed to get us back into a flow.”
GHV point guard Emily Spilman had the hot hand in the first half, putting in 11 of her game-high 19 points. She also started the second half with a quick bucket for the Cards, but momentum began to shift, as seniors Trudy Peterson and Logan Anderson began to score off of GHV turnovers. The Lions pulled to within two points as time expired in the third quarter.
“Our seniors came up big for us down the stretch,” said Lions Coach Bart Smith. “Bailey Kibsgaard played great post defense, Trudy hit a big three, Madi Faber made a huge 15-footer to extend the lead late and Logan was steady all night and made the big shot in clutch time.”
Peterson gave the Lions the lead with about seven-minutes remaining when she connected on a wide open three-point attempt. Four-minutes later Faber scored to make the score 39-34, but the Cards stayed alive when Hannah Lau hit a fieldgoal with 1:40 remaining, 39-36.
Late in the game the Cardinal defense turned what seemed like a slim chance of victory into a certain possibility with a couple steals and a three point play by Maddie Tusha to tie the game at 39.
“A game like this comes down experience and leadership,” said the Lions’ Coach Smith. “And we have it.”
Logan Anderson drove the lane and made the shot and was fouled with :22 seconds remaining. Her free throws made the score 43-39.
The Cardinals still had a chance to tie it up, but turned the ball over and the Lions iced the game at the free throw line.
“I am very proud of the effort from my girls as we did exactly what we needed to do to give us a chance to pull off the upset. Our defense was outstanding as it has been all season long,”said Erpelding. “Emily Spilman had a tremendous game for us as she made her first nine shots and finished with 19 points on 9/10 shooting while having the difficult task of guarding Logan Anderson on the other end of the floor.”
Lau and Tusha each finished with six points. Mackenzie Haag and Mackenzie Van Gerpen had four points apiece.
Anderson was the leading scorer for the Lions with 18. Lindsey Loudenburg put in 10 and Peterson scored eight. Faber and Kibsgaard put in four and three points respectively.