Lakers pull away at home

Bear Lake’s Taylor Anderson dribbles past Traverse City’s Sarah Plamondon on Tuesday. (Dylan Savela/News Advocate)

BEAR LAKE — There wasn’t a dribble in the first half Tuesday that hit the floor without a defender lurking near by.

Bear Lake pressed Traverse City Home School, and vice versa.

But while Lakers coach Scott Brown appreciated his team’s intensity on the defensive end, he thought the offense would benefit from falling back.

The result: a 64-44 victory as Bear Lake pulled away from the Bulldogs down the stretch of its home opener.

“When we’re in the fullcourt press, sometimes it helps, sometimes it can be a hindrance,” Brown said. “The first half I thought we were trying to rush things too much. If our fast break is there, OK, let’s go for it. But if it isn’t there, we need to slow it down and work our offense.

“The big thing about taking (the press) off is it helped us slow things down offensively in the second half.”

The Lakers, who traded buckets with the Bulldogs in the first half, turned a 30-23 halftime advantage to a 51-33 cushion by the end of the third. The 21-point frame was paced by Emileigh Ferguson’s 10 points, as part of the junior’s 26-point game, including a 10-for-11 performance from the free throw line, to go with 18 rebounds.

“When we talked at halftime, we said we’ve got to calm down,” Brown said of the turnaround. “If it’s not there, we’ve got to set it up and look for our best shot.”

Bear Lake, which was shorthanded by injury and illness Tuesday night, saw contributions from a carousel of guards once the offense started rolling. Kelly Babcock finished with 13 points with five rebounds and five assists, Sam Mullet scored eight with eight boards, Taylor Anderson had eight points, McKaya Groenwald scored five to go with nine rebounds, six assists and four steals, and McKenna Fink had four points, six boards and five steals.

Traverse City Home School was paced by Casie Plamondon with 16 points.

“We had to play pressure defense tonight, even when we went to the halfcourt trap,” Brown explained. “They’ve got a lot of good shooters on that team, and if you leave any of them open, they’re going to make 50, 60 percent of those shots.”

Bear Lake jumped out to a 9-2 lead early when Mullet connected on one of her two 3-pointers on the night, but the Bulldogs chipped away before trailing 17-12 heading into the second.

While the Lakers dished out the headaches in the first frame, it was TC’s turn to frustrate Bear Lake in the backcourt in the second.

The Lakers struggled to find quality shots for most the frame, as the Bulldogs took leads at 19-17 and 23-21.

“Even when we were slowing it down, we were making one pass and a shot,’ Brown said. “We weren’t getting our weakside rebounds, and things like that either.”

Bear Lake finished the half on an 9-0 run to give itself a small cushion at the break, and came out of the locker room with that momentum still intact.

After the teams split a pair of buckets to start the third, the Lakers went on a 15-0 run that put them up 47-25 for the largest lead of the night. Traverse City responded with eight straight points, but Ferguson closed the quarter with four of her own, before Bear Lake kept the Bulldogs at bay through the fourth.

The junior varsity Lakers topped TC Home School 54-23 as Alyson Fink led the way with 22 points and teammate Katie Millard scored 13.

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Posted by Dylan Savela

Dylan is the county reporter for the News Advocate, he also is in charge of the Small Town Life, religion and senior pages. He can be reached at (231) 398-3111 or dsavela@pioneergroup.com.

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