BRIMFIELD TWP.: Lake used size to its advantage against host Field, dominating the paint with excellent play from post players McKenna Stephens and Baylen Dyrlund, and the Blue Streaks beat the Falcons 64-43.
Stephens, a senior center at 6 feet, 1 inch, led all scorers with 17 points and was active down low, grabbing five rebounds and blocking four shots.
Dyrlund, a 5-10 forward, scored 14 points of her own and led the Blue Streaks (7-1) in rebounding with six.
“Our two post players are pretty good,” Lake coach Henry Cobb said. “We are a bit bigger than Field, so we wanted to go inside often if we could.”
After a slow first quarter, Field senior guard Morgan Peachey scored seven unanswered points in a 9-2 run in the second quarter for the Falcons (7-2), putting them up 16-13. Peachey led the Falcons in scoring with 14 points.
The run was culminated by an athletic, chase-down block by Field senior center Ashley Mack that got the home crowd loud and on its feet.
However, the Field gymnasium was quickly silenced when Dyrlund converted a three-point play and then scored on the following two possessions to retake the Lake lead and force Field coach Craig Nettleton to use a timeout.
“Baylen’s an awfully good player,” Cobb said. “She sensed that we needed someone to step up during that run and she did.”
After the timeout, the Lake bigs set the tone for the rest of the game with Stephens showing off impressive footwork on three turnaround jumpers to end the first half with a 29-19 lead.
“McKenna is a very special player,” Cobb said. “She can make shots that you usually only see guys make. She shoots a very nice fade-away and has a good jump shot. She’s a very good player, a four-year letterman, and we expect her to do that every night.”
Lake senior guard Miranda Diesz opened the second half with a steal that led to a score after she missed her first attempt and grabbed her own rebound.On the following possession, Stephens intercepted a lazy pass at half court that led to an easy breakaway layup.
“In the second half, our girls played with energy and got some good things going,” Cobb said. “When these kids want to play hard, we can do some good things.”
The Blue Streaks were aggressive in the passing lanes, which resulted in a handful of points off turnovers and enabled them to hold Field to only three points in the third quarter.
The Falcons began to rally in the fourth quarter when sophomore forward Katrina Eldreth scored six unanswered points to cut the Lake lead to 10, but the Blue Streaks responded with solid bench play and efficient free-throw shooting to put any comeback hopes to rest.
“I thought Field’s kids executed better than anybody we’ve played all year,” Cobb said. “They had a great game plan. Craig Nettleton is doing a really good job with the program and they’re going to be fine.”
Field will try to get back on track Jan. 5 when its hosts Portage Trail Conference opponent Ravenna.
Lake will host Perry on Saturday, Dec. 29, in a Federal League matchup.
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