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Lady Eagles hang on at CAI

Lady Eagles hang on at CAI
Lady Eagles hang on at CAI
Peyton Sonner turns for a layup in the paint for Lanesville Thursday night at Christian Academy of Indiana. The senior finished with 14 points. Photo by Brian Smith

South Carolina men’s basketball coach Frank Martin sent out a post-game tweet following the Gamecock’s narrow win over Monmouth early this season.
‘After 32 years, I still sleep better after sloppy W than a hard fought L.’
At Christian Academy of Indiana Thursday night, Lanesville girls’ hoops coach Kevin Smith had the same feeling. The Lady Eagles led by 13 points with 3:32 to go but held on late to a 48-46 victory at CAI.
‘I told the girls, I follow South Carolina, where my daughter graduated from, and Frank Martin sent out a tweet when they beat Monmouth on a last-second shot ‘ I’ll take a sloppy win over a loss any day,’ Smith said. ‘We certainly will tonight.’
It wasn’t necessarily sloppy through the first 3-1/2 quarters.
A reverse lay-in by Mckenzie Randolph preceded a series of hustle plays by Peyton Sonner in the fourth for Lanesville. Carmen Jacobs had her shot blocked by the 6-foot-plus Alli Stumler, but Sonner came up with the board. Going back up, Sonner made the field goal while getting fouled. Sonner missed the free throw, but the loose offensive board found her hands for another made field goal while drawing a foul.
The four-point swing gave Lanesville a 45-32 lead.
CAI didn’t shy away from the deficit. In less than two minutes, CAI went on an 11-1 run while Lanesville struggled at the charity stripe. Stumler scored on a put-back then took a defensive rebound to the opposite end line for a score. Hannah Beckley pumped in a triple for the Lady Warriors. A long deuce by way of Danielle Summitt and a pair of Stumler free throws brought the Lanesville lead down to three, 46-43, with 45 seconds left.
Free throws were a fourth-quarter Lanesville nemesis. The Lady Eagles went 3 for 11 in the final eight minutes. Miller netted one to put Lanesville up by four, 47-43. From the outside with 24 seconds remaining, CAI’s Beckley had a 3-point fall through the rim.
Miller added another freebie to go up two points, 48-46. On CAI’s final possession, Sonner deflected a pass intended for the paint gobbled up by Miller as time ran out.
‘The girls haven’t been in this situation yet this year, being in a close game with the lead, so we had some jitters going on,’ Smith said. ‘We didn’t want it to go south on us. We hung in there, and I’m happy for them. It’s a good win for us.’
Smith said it was a coaching mistake to pull the ball out with the large lead midway through the final quarter to milk the clock.
‘We probably pulled the ball out too early,’ Smith said. ‘It was my mistake to work on that, but I thought they could do it. It almost backfired on us. We probably would have been more comfortable just running our offense. We learn as coaches and as players.’
Lanesville was able to build a lead in the opening 16 minutes by hitting outside shots. Katelyn Pavey and Jacobs hit trifectas in the first quarter, which saw the Lady Eagles up 13-8.
On the press break, Kelsey Richmer found an open Randolph for two points in the second quarter. From beyond the arc, Sonner put down consecutive 3s before Jacobs hit another.
From just inside the arc, Randolph added a long jumper, leading to a 26-16 half-time lead for Lanesville.
‘I believe we have shooters from the outside that can hit from there,’ Smith said. ‘If they are open ” as long as it’s not off the dribble ” we catch the ball on a pass in rhythm and shoot it; we’ll look for it.’
Smith said the game plan was to attack Stumler inside, but her long arms blocked four first-half shots, six for the game.
Starting the second half with a bang, Jacobs hit her third 3-pointer. Stumler tried to bring CAI back with seven of her team’s 12 third-quarter points, but Lanesville continued to have answers.
Lanesville’s Kayla Philpott was fouled on a made 3-pointer, pushing the Lady Eagles’ lead to 11, 37-36.
The Lady Eagles then held on in the final quarter. For the game, they shot 5 of 20 from the foul line. CAI wasn’t much better, going 5 of 9.
Leading the way for Lanesville was Sonner, scoring 14 points while pulling down 12 rebounds.
‘We have to get a lot of effort from Peyton,’ Smith said. ‘There are times in the past she will hang her head if a shot doesn’t go in or didn’t block out, but she kept her head tonight. She’s been hobbled. She’s been hurt since the Providence game (Nov. 8) and has been playing at about 75 percent. She’s battled through that, which is a credit to her. Sometimes little things in the past like an injury have bothered her, but she’s really battled through.’
Jacobs reached double-figure scoring with 14 points. Randolph tallied seven, while Pavey scored six.
Lanesville’s early-season schedule has been stout. Coming into the match-up with CAI, their opponents thus far have a combined 14-6 record.
‘With the schedule we started out with, nothing should surprise these girls any more,’ Smith said. ‘I don’t think we were intimidated. (CAI) were missing a starter and second leading scorer, but we stuck with our game plan. Not many of the teams I’ve had in the past have stuck with the game plan throughout. These girls believe and trust themselves.’
Lanesville’s next contest will be Monday at Perry Central (8 p.m.). Nine of Lanesville’s first 11 games will be played on the road or a neutral site.

Lanesville 13 13 11 11 ‘ 48
Christian Aca. of Ind. 8 8 12 18 ‘ 46
Lanesville (1-5) ‘ Sonner 14, Jacobs 13, Randolph 7, Pavey 6, Philpott 3, Richmer 3, Miller 2.
Christian Academy of Indiana (2-2) ‘ Stumler 17, Summitt 16, Beckley 6, Martin 5, Jenkins 2.
3-point goals ‘ Lanesville 7 (Jacobs 3, Sonner 2, Pavey, Philpott); CAI 5 (Summitt 2, Beckley 2, Stumler).