LAKE LINDEN - Running with the L'Anse Purple Hornets carries risks. For a Lake Linden-Hubbell girls' basketball squad playing its opener, those risks were too much to bear Thursday.
The Hornets got off to a fast start, repelled several LL-H challenges, then hit the afterburners for an 80-47 non-conference win.
"Things were looking good, but I think we ran out of gas. We got really tired and we couldn't keep up with the pace that L'Anse had set," LL-H coach Timm Gast said.
L’Anse’s Kelsey Ross elevates for a jump shot in the first quarter of Thursday’s non-conference game at Lake Linden-Hubbell. Ross had a game-high 24 points as the Hornets ran to an 80-47 victory. (DMG photo by Brandon Veale)
After falling behind 13-2 in the first three and a half minutes, the Lakes started to catch up, making a run to within one midway through the second quarter, then after the Hornets counterattacked, getting within three by scoring three straight buckets to open the second half.
Things flew apart for the Lakes from there, as L'Anse outscored LL-H 40-10 the rest of the way.
L'Anse had effective offense in the first half due to strong outside shooting from Kelsey Ross, who had a game-high 24 points, but couldn't use all its offensive weapons due to foul trouble, particularly to waterbug guard Madi Swanson. After the break, there was little stopping the visitors.
L'Anse 21 19 25 15 - 80
LL-Hubbell15 16 12 4 - 47
L'Anse - Kelsey Ross 24, Madi Swanson 16, Valerie Rajala 13, Kelly Larson 6, Kayla LaBerge 5, Alyssa Norback 5, Freya Lyssy 4, Abby Marinich 4, Allison Koskinen 3; FT: 6-10; Fouls: 15; 3-point field goals: Ross 3, Rajala 1.
Lake Linden-Hubbell - Brittni Kisul 16, Sarah Audette 11, Erin Gast 7, Taylor Shepeard 5, Morgan Codere 2, Morgan Gast 2, Kayla Goodell 2; FT: 10-14; Fouls: 16; 3-point field goals: Shepeard 1.
"While they're shooting free throws, they're also resting and that's against what we want. We want to keep teams on the floor. I don't even like to call timeouts. I like the girls to work through the trouble, because my feelling is our stamina at some point's going to prevail," L'Anse coach Scott Lloyd said.
Valerie Rajala had six points and Ross five as L'Anse racked up 15 points in the first four minutes, but their high-pressure style offered diminished returns as LL-H started breaking the press consistently and getting the ball in the hands of athletic forward Brittni Kisul. Kisul had nine points in the last 3:04 of the quarter as LL-H pulled to within 21-15.
The Lakes continued their 14-4 run, coming within a point after Brooke Corrigan hit a pair of free throws, only for back-to-back buckets from Abby Marinich and a Kelly Larson trey to give the Hornets a little separation.
LL-H made another mini-run to within two with 2:41 left in the half, only for Ross and Rajala to hit 3s late, pushing the lead back to nine, 40-31, at halftime.
Kisul converted multiple times early as LL-H got close again in the third, but Swanson scored four times on transition lay-ups in the quarter as the Hornets pulled away for good.
"I sent them back into a zone realizing if we could just rebound and get a quick outlet, I think they started to get tired and I think we scored eight points in a matter of about 30 seconds there and it really took the wind out of their sails," Lloyd said.
The Lakes scored 10 points in the last 14 minutes.
"When they switched into their zone, we started standing around and took too many outside shots after one pass and didn't really work the ball, weren't really patient enough and weren't hitting shots," Gast said.
Kisul finished with 16 and sophomore point guard Sarah Audette had 11 for the Lakes, who play Tuesday at Hancock.
The Purple Hornets (2-0), who got 16 from Swanson and 13 from Rajala, face a big test in their home opener Tuesday against Houghton.
"We can't let them get those six- or eight-point surges without getting surges of our own. All the good teams are going to get them, but you just have to react to them and don't let them drown you," Lloyd said.