PAINESDALE - The Lake Linden-Hubbell and Chassell girls' basketball teams both relied heavily on a senior leader in Monday's Class D district opener at Jeffers, but only one got enough help from her teammates to continue her career.
LL-H's Brittni Kisul tallied her third 20-point game of the season - 14 of those season-high points in the second half - to lead the Lakes to a 44-30 win over the Panthers, who were led by 18 points from Jamie Dompier.
LL-H missed seven free throws, several layups and a few more short jumpers in the first half, but only trailed 17-16 at the break. The Lakes refocused their efforts to feed Kisul down low, and the senior was on target in the second half.
Lake Linden-Hubbell’s Brittni Kisul, left, fights for the ball against Chassell senior Jamie Dompier (4), while Abby Sutherland also defends for the Lakes during Monday’s Class D?district tournament first-round game at Jeffers High School in Painesdale.. Kisul scored 20 points to lead LL-H to a 44-30 win. (DMG photo by Stephen Anderson)
"I felt that we were fortunate coming out of the first half just down by one," Lakes coach Timm Gast said. "I knew if we played our style of game we could make that up and turn the game around. I was just happy getting out of the first half.
"We felt we had an advantage in the post with Brittni, we just had to do a better job setting the play up to get her the ball, and that's what we concentrated on."
That, and tightening up their defense in the lane against Dompier's drives. Chassell's only senior still managed eight second-half points, but Kirsten Daavettila was the only other Panther to score after the first quarter. Frustration clearly set in for the Panthers late, manifesting itself in sloppy turnovers that doomed any comeback attempt.
LL-Hubbell 6 10 18 10 - 44
Chassell 9 8 8 5 - 30
Lake Linden-Hubbell - Brittni Kisul 20, Sarah Audette 10, Brooke Corrigan 7, Erin Gast 3, Abby Sutherland 2, Morgan Gast 2; FT: 12-22; Fouls: 16; Fouled out: Corrigan; 3-point field goals: none.
Chassell - Jamie Dompier 18, Kirsten Daavettila 8, Karli Michaels 2, Macy Holombo 2; FT 6-12; Fouls: 19; Fouled out: Michaels; 3-point field goals: Daavettila 2.
"It's just hard because this game didn't represent what we represent as a whole. It's hard to end on that note," Chassell coach Brandi Hainault said. "We were careless with the ball. They played their normal and we were ready for it, but we had a lot of bad passes. How do you get an offense going with bad passes? Even my veteran players were throwing the ball away. We didn't even get a chance to shoot it half the time because we were giving them the pass.
" Frustration got the best of us and it went from there."
It was Chassell (11-9) that frustrated LL-H early on though, forcing several turnovers and jumping out to a 7-2 lead - none of those points even coming from Dompier.
But it all started changing in the second quarter when Chassell's only scoring was eight points by Dompier. LL-H sophomore point guard Sarah Audette scored six of her 10 points in the second frame, including a pair of layups that helped reduce the deficit to 13-10 two minutes in.
Four of the remaining six Lakes' second-quarter points came from the free-throw line in a tightly called game in which two players fouled out. Chassell never led by more than five in the first half, but LL-H's only first-half lead was at 2-0.
"I don't know if it was a little flat or nervous, we just weren't playing our game," Gast said. "Chassell does that to you, too. They're very good defensively, they're scrappy, they were getting us off our game."
After the break, though, LL-H quickly got back to its game. Dompier quickly scored with a short jumper, but the Lakes put together a 10-0 run with the points coming from four layups and two free throws.
With two minutes left in the third quarter, Daavettila hit her second three of the game to cut Chassell's deficit to 28-24, but a pair of Kisul buckets sandwiched two of Brooke Corrigan's seven points. LL-H led 34-25 after three.
Kisul scored the first four points of the fourth quarter, and Chassell never got back within single digits. Karli Michaels fouled out with 1:26 remaining and Dompier was subbed out for the final time in her career with 49.5 seconds left, drawing applause from the crowd and tears from her eyes.
"Jamie's my only senior, and it's hard because she's so close to me. She's a great girl, great friend and it's hard," Hainault said. " (She and the team) have worked hard to turn the program around a little bit and go from winning one game in the regular season to winning 12. That's an accomplishment in itself."
While Chassell's season comes to a close, LL-H (10-10) will face host Jeffers at 6 p.m. Wednesday. The teams split the regular season with the Lakes winning 53-38 in Lake Linden and the Jets winning 57-44 in Painesdale.