Lanesville drills No. 4 Lady Cougars
By Alan Stewart, Contributing Writer
A matchup of two top four clubs in Class 1A girls basketball last Tuesday night in Lanesville turned out to be a one-team show.
Powered by a 23-point output by sophomore Hadley Crosier and a tight-fisted defense that held No. 4-ranked Trinity Lutheran scoreless for more than eight minutes midway through the game, No. 2-ranked Lanesville sailed past the visitors, 59-30, in the annual Pink Out game.
In addition to her offensive output, Crosier drew the primary defensive assignment on the Lady Cougars’ star senior, Ohio University-commit Bailey Tabeling. Tabeling came into the contest averaging a tick over 22 points per game for 13th in the state, but Crosier held the 5-11, hot-shooting guard to 14 points, including four at the foul line. Tabeling sank two free throws with 2:39 left in the game that gave her exactly 2,000 points for her career, drawing a nice applause from fans on both sides.
“Even with good defense (Tabeling) can still get shots off. She is a heck of a player, a good kid. I’ve got to give credit to Hadley. She was in her grill the whole night, as much as she possibly could be and made it tough on her,” Lanesville coach Angie Hinton said. “I know (Crosier) has to be tired right now. She was able to make some big buckets for us, as well. It was a total game for her.”
The Lady Cougars (15-5) led with the opening bucket of the contest but never threatened after that as each Lady Eagle who stepped on the hardwood contributed in some way.
Senior Linzie Wernert scored 13 of her 15 in the first half, Morgan Sonner added 11 and Hylton Brumley and Ava Kerr tacked on five points apiece.
“Linzie was a beast on the boards and inside. We thought we could go inside, and that was the difference in the game. It makes our guards more comfortable when we can get those buckets inside,” Hinton said. “Morgan started a little off, but then she was able to keep the ball up and get us some put-backs. It sure was nice to see Brumley hit a couple of buckets. Ava is a little under the weather. She was still pretty good but not as sharp as she normally is because of that. Ellie came in and helped us a couple of times in there. I’m just really proud of this group because they were really, really focused and I can’t ask for more than that. We just played a great game. Trinity is a really good ball club.”
After taking an 18-11 lead at the end of the first quarter, Lanesville dropped the hammer on the visitors in the second frame.
Crosier knocked down a three, Sonner had an old-fashioned three and Brumley drained one from distance to surge the advantage to 26-11. Trinity’s Liza Froedge sank a three at the other end with 5:26 showing, but it was the last points her team would score for the rest of the half. The Lady Eagles closed with an 12-0 run for a 38-14 advantage at the intermission.
The Lady Cougars didn’t hit a field goal in the second half until Tabeling hit one from near the volleyball line at the five minute mark, a span of 8:26.
From there, the only things left in question were the final score and whether or not Tabeling would reach the 2,000-point plateau in Eagle country.
Hinton said the second quarter was the deciding period in the game.
“Second quarter was huge. Hadley’s defense just ignited the whole team, and then everybody is a step quicker. They are stepping into a passing lane and getting a tip or grabbing a loose ball or getting a rebound,” Lanesville’s coach said. “Getting off to a good start is always important. When Linzie gets off to a good start, it’s really important for us because it helps the kids relax. I think defensively we were locked in. When we can get Morgan to play out on the wing like that, it changes the dynamics of our defense sometimes.
“Our defense has been holding us really good, but when we can get those baskets going, that really steps us up another level. I fully expect to see this team in the tournament. I don’t know what the layout is going to be, but I’m sure they’ll be the favorite in their sectional and they are going to be a regional and, depending on the draw and things, they may be a favorite at a regional. Tabeling is too good of a player and can knock it down from downtown and she gets her teammates involved, too. When you have a shooter like that, they’ll always be in a game.”
Lanesville (20-2), which followed up last week’s win with an 82-32 blowout of Rock Creek Community Academy and a 50-20 victory over Eastern (Pekin), shot 22 of 52 (42%) from the field and was 5 of 20 (25%) on threes. The hosts won the battle of the boards, 40-27, and gave up 10 turnovers while forcing 14. Trinity Lutheran, which also got eight points from Jordan Brewer, was just 9 of 43 (21%) from the field and 5 of 17 (29%) on threes. Both teams were fairly proficient from the charity stripe, with the Lady Eagles sinking 10 of 14 and Lady Cougars going 7 of 8.
“We’ve been making steps against people, and I think it’s a growing process for us mentally. We went through some real physical games over Christmas, some physically-taxing running, playing four games like that on a college floor and, with the teams we are facing right now, we have to be locked in. The kids are starting to get over those mental humps that we need to get over to get that mental edge,” Hinton said.
In the matchup against Eastern, Wernert scored 16, Brumley had 11 and Shelby Allen scored six. Wernert and Sonner both had nine rebounds, while Crosier finished with four assists.
In the blowout over Rock Creek, Wernert poured in 24 points, Allen had 17 with 10 boards and Sonner scored 12, with Crosier adding 10 with six assists.
The Lady Eagles traveled to Orleans (10-9) yesterday (Tuesday) and will close the regular season at home on Jan. 27 against a surging Scottsburg club that sits at 16-3 on the year, including winning eight in a row.