Lanesboro girls come close against Gophers, grab first victory against Lions

Emily Snyder makes a run for the basket as teammate Payton Benson gives her some protection from Elizabeth Amundson from Schaeffer Academy in last week’s game. KRISTI RUEN/NEWS LEADER

Taking control of the ball, Payton Benson makes her way to the basket as Schaeffer Academy defenders try to deter her. The Burros took the win, 58-45. KRISTI RUEN/NEWS LEADER
By : 
Lee Epps

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It was a recent and successful script reversal for the Lanesboro girls who flourished (instead of fading) during the second halves of their two best basketball performances of the season thus far.

There was an encouraging but also disappointing close call against Chatfield in a battle of winless teams at the 34th Annual Lewiston Auto Holiday Classic at Winona State University. Lanesboro lost a late lead in that 49-44 setback on Dec. 28 - the second tournament game against Class AA competition for Class A Burros.

LHS (1-8, 1-5 SEC) claimed a first victory after the calendar changed to 2019 with a 58-45 home decision on Jan. 3 against Schaeffer Academy (2-10, 0-6 SEC).

Chatfield 49, LHS 44

Down 23-14 at halftime, Lanesboro battled back to take a 44-42 lead when Lexie Johnson hit a three-point shot with about two minutes to play. But with a couple of missed shots and a pair of late turnovers, the Burros would not score again.

After the teams traded missed shots, the Gophers (1-9) tied the score with just over a minute remaining. Chatfield went back ahead 46-44 by converting a steal into a fast break layup.

Lanesboro then got into the lane for a quality shot, but the ball did not find the net. The Burros were then forced to send the Gophers to the foul line where they hit three of four late free throws to extend a two-point lead into the final five-point margin

After scoring only 14 points in the first half, the Burros more than doubled that output while outscoring Chatfield 30 to 26 after intermission.

Coach Josh Schreiber said it was mostly a matter of hitting shots in the second half that for some reason did not fall during the first half. Four of Lanesboro's five three-point baskets came in the second half.

The Burros held a major 15-point advantage beyond the three-point arc where they netted five of 11 trey attempts (45%), while the Gophers were 0 for 12. But the Lanesboro girls connected on only 26% of their two-point shots.

Overall, LHS shot 30% and the Gophers 28%, but Chatfield (with a dozen steals) earned more shot attempts from both the field and the free throw line.

Despite the disparity from the three-point land, the Gophers outscored the Burros by three points from the field (40-37) and by two points from the charity line (9-7).

LHS hit seven of 15 free throws (47%) while Chatfield went nine for 22 (41%).

Johnson had a great game with 14-points and 15 rebounds. Emily Snyder also had a double double with 10 points and 11 rebounds along with three blocked shots.

Payton Benson added seven points, and Kaci Ruen was effective inside with seven rebounds and two blocked shots. The Burros had 40 rebounds while the Gophers collected 41,

Lanesboro was shorthanded, missing two of the regular playing rotation

Chatfield had balanced scoring with four Gophers tallying between eight and 11 points.

LHS 58, Schaeffer 45

The Burros controlled one half of the court with a defense that limited Schaeffer to 45 points, a season low for a Lanesboro opponent.

Meanwhile, the LHS attack chalked up a season high 58 points while feasting at the foul line where the Burros hit 24 of 37 free throws (65%) and outscored Schaeffer by 19 points in a 13-point victory. Schaffer hit only five of 14 charity shots.

LHS was successful getting the ball inside where they drew most of the 20 Lion fouls.

Benson poured in 18 points while Snyder added 15 and Sophia Simes 11.

Snyder had a game-best nine rebounds while Benson rebounded six times as did Alida Berg. Simes and Johnson each collected five caroms, Eight different Burros were credited with rebounds during Lanesboro's domination of the backboards.

Lanesboro held slim leads for most of the game but did not pull away until the final few minutes. The Burros had surrendered the lead late in the first half, but they secured and extended the lead down the stretch in the second half.

Ahead by only five points with five minutes to play, LHS would win by 13. It had gone the other way late in the first half when the Burros lost a five-point lead while Schaeffer moved ahead at halftime, 29-25.

That first half Schaeffer rally came after the Burros changed defenses. The Lions were able to penetrate the lane and pass the ball out for successful perimeter shots.

But after halftime, the LHS girls went back to their previously successful zone defense and again made things difficult for the Schaeffer attack. Lanesboro doubled up the Lions plus one (33-16) after the break.

The Burros edged ahead early in the second half and again nursed narrow leads until finally creating some breathing room in the final few minutes.

While shooting very well from the charity line, LHS shot an undistinguished 24% from the field (Schaeffer 36%). But with a 37-to-19 rebounding bulge, the Burros shot more often and were outscored only 40-34 from the field.

The Lions had eight field goals on each side of the three-point arc, resulting in eight more points with threes than with twos.

But the game was ultimately decided at the free throw line.

This week and next

As the News Leader was going to press on Jan. 8, the girls were hosting Class AA Triton (7-7). The Burros play at Fillmore Central tonight (Thursday, Jan. 10) before returning to conference action on Friday with the rematch at Spring Grove.

Next week begins with a Tuesday, (Jan. 15) trek west to for a non-conference clash with Alden-Conger/Glenville-Emmons. It will be a fourth straight road test as the bus again heads west to LeRoy-Ostrander on Jan. 17.