MARSHALL - Steady execution led the Lakeview girls' basketball team to a 19-point lead over Red Rock Central. Then, with 18 turnovers in the second half, they gave nearly all of it back.
Fortunately for the Lakers, they were able to overcome a sloppy final 18 minutes and staved off a Red Rock rally to hang on for a 56-50 non-conference win Saturday at the R/A Facility at Southwest Minnesota State University.
Senior guard Corbyn Wee knocked down 10 of 12 free throws and scored 17 points, junior forward Madi Nelson added 14 points, and eighth-grade guard Sadie Stelter added 13 points to lead the Lakers to victory. But it wasn't pretty.
The Lakers (8-12 overall) were up 31-14 at halftime, but in the second half struggled mightily against the Falcons' full-court pressure. All the Lakeview turnovers fueled what had been a very sluggish RRC offense in the first half and the Falcons (2-17) climbed back to cut the lead to four with 28 seconds left after a transition basket by Melanie Kedl. Wee knocked down a pair of free throws after that to seal a shaky win and han d the Falcons their seventh straight loss.
It was a script the Lakers have followed before, not always with winning results, and one that head coach Mike Imes hopes his players can eventually learn from.
"The last two games we've won both of them, but we tend to continue to make the same mistakes over and over and we have to correct them," he said. "If you make those same mistakes come playoff time, it could cost you the game and the season's over.
Taylor Price 1 0-0 2, Brooke Rasmussen 5 1-2 15, Katie Larsen 1 6-8 8, Tegan Derickson 4 4-7 12, Fern Engen 1 0-1 2, Melanie Kedl 5 1-4 11. Totals 17 12-22 50. 3-pointers 4 (Rasmussen 4) Total Fouls 18.
Sadie Stelter 6 0-5 13, Corbyn Wee 3 10-12 17, Brianna Hoffman 2 0-0 4, Brooklyn Hartle 3 0-0 6, Madi Nelson 3 7-7 14, Allison Boerboom 0 2-2 2. Totals 17 19-26 56. 3-pointers 3 Rebounds 31 (Hoffman 12, Wee 6, Stelter 4) Assists 15 (Hoffman 3, Wee 3) Steals 17 (Boerboom 5, Hoffman 4) Blocks 7 (Boerboom 7, Hoffman 3) Turnovers 28 Total Fouls 19.
Halftime Score: Lakeview 31, RRC 14.
"I thought we executed very well in that first half. We hit some open jump shots, but then there were times when we slowed ourselves down and actually ran an offense, and it's effective, we can do that. But, for whatever reason, in the second half we chose not to do that. We chose to be more 1-on-1, weren't thinking our way through the press and it got a little scary at times."
The Falcons had few chances to set up an effective press in the first half as they struggled mightly to score. Things appeared to go from bad to worse when Tegan Derickson, one of just three seniors on the team, collapsed to the court with a knee injury and was unable to put any weight on her leg while getting helped off the floor. She was able to return, and was also able to provide a spark for the Falcons, finishing with 12 points for the game.
RRC guard Brooke Rasmussen also gave the Falcons a big lift. She scored eight points in a two-minute stretch, knocking down two of her four 3-pointers for the game in that span, to cut the lead down to 35-28 six minutes into the second half. She finished with 15 points.
Melanie Kedl hit three shots for the Falcons in the final five minutes of the game to get her team even closer. She finished with 11 points. But RRC's improved scoring prowess and increased intensity on defense came just a bit too late, as the Falcons weren't quite able to climb out of the large hole.
"They finally came back in that second half and decided to play basketball, which was good to see," RRC head coach Kylie Dauer said. "But like I told them in the locker room afterwards, it takes a full game. Unfortunately we didn't do that tonight, but we had our opportunity in the end and there were just some clutch layups and opportunities that were missed."
Brianna Hoffman grabbed 12 rebounds and had four steals for the Lakers in the win, and Allison Boerboom had five steals and seven blocks.
Free throws are something the Lakers have struggled with all season, but they went 19-for-26 Saturday night. Imes said that's what helped win the game.
The Lakers will try for their third straight win tonight at Ortonville, while RRC plays against Tuesday against Mountain Lake Area in Jeffers.