LAKE LINDEN - The way Timm Gast sees it, a tough non-conference schedule prepared his Lake Linden-Hubbell girls' basketball team for the meat of the Copper Country Conference schedule.
"We played L'Anse, Houghton and Calumet earlier and they're all ranked in the top five (of the U.P. Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association poll) among big schools," the LL-H coach said after his team's 48-37 win over Dollar Bay Tuesday night. "I think that experience will help us out greatly in the second half of the season."
The Lakes, who improved to 4-4 overall and 2-1 in league, will find out how much that rugged slate helps them on Friday when perennial CCC power Ontonagon comes to town.
Dollar Bay’s Sam Ozanich challenges the defense of Lake Linden-Hubbell’s Sarah Audette and Brittni?Kisul (far left)?during the second half of Tuesday’s game in Lake Linden. (Paul Peterson photo)
"I know they (Gladiators) have lost a couple of games outside the conference, but they're still undefeated in the league," Gast said. "It's a reallly big game for us."
Dollar Bay coach Steve Krahling knew exactly why his team was unable to handle its rivals.
"Turnovers, that was the story of the game," Krahling commented. "Whenever we would try to get close, we would make a mistake. You can't afford that against any team ... it's been our Achilles so far this year."
Dollar Bay 6 16 7 9- 37
LL-Hubbell 10 14 16 8 -48
Dollar Bay - Julia Daavettila 9, Erica LeClaire 2, Jamie Sertich 11, Meagan Kangas 12, Carli Daavettila 3. FT: 6-14; Rebounds: 24 (Sertich 8); Fouls: 11; Fouled out: J. Daavettila; 3-point FG: Sertich, J. Daavettila, C. Daavettila 1.
Lake Linden-Hubbell - Erin Gast 2, Sarah Audette 18, Morgan Gast 2, Abby Sutherland 8, Brittni Kisul 6, Kayla Goodell 6, Brooke Corrigan 6. FT: 0-2; Rebounds: 29 (Kisul 10); Fouls: 16; Fouled out: None; 3-point FG: None.
The Bays, while managing to stay close throughout, could never regain the lead after a Julia Daavettila three-pointer tied it at 20 late in the opening half.
But baskets by Sarah Audette and Brittni Kisul shoved the Lakes into a 24-22 lead at the intermission on Pink-Out Night for cancer awareness.
Audette, who netted 12 of her game-high 18 points in the second half, dumped in eight points to spark her team's telltale 16-7 edge in the third quarter.
DBHS managed a 9-8 margin in the final quarter but never seriously threatened the LL-H lead.
"Our mistakes hurt us when we trying to catch up in the fourth quarter," Krahling. "We have to improve in that area."
Audette also came up with five steals and four assists, earning her coach's praise.
"Sarah Audette really played a nice game," Gast said. "She had her hand in most of the good things we did."
Freshman Abby Sutherland notched eight more points for the victors, while Kisul grabbed 10 rebounds to lead in that department.
The Bays, 1-4 in the CCC and 3-5 overall, were paced by Meagan Kangas with 12 points.
Jamie Sertich put in 11 more and had eight boards, while the normally high-scoring Daavettila was held in check with nine markers.
Things get no easier for the Bays, who face L'Anse at home on Friday.
Dollar Bay won the JV game, 44-39.