LL-H loses to W-M 61-39

Lake Linden-Hubbell’s Laura Lyons look to pass Friday against Wakefield-Marenisco in Wakefield. (Paul Krause/ Daily Globe (Ironwood))

WAKEFIELD — Maybe it was a little bit of home cooking, or maybe it was the return of an injured player, or maybe it was a monster performance turned in by a key player and then again, maybe it was a combination of all three.

After losing seven of its last eight games, Wakefield-Marenisco knocked off Lake Linden-Hubbell 61-39 in Copper Mountain Conference action on Friday night.

“It’s about time we played well,” Cardinal coach Bruce Mahler said. “We looked good tonight. This was our first home game since Dec. 21. It was good to be home. And we got Melissa Wanink back. That’s a huge boost for our team. It makes a big difference having seven players instead of six. We haven’t been able to do our stuff with the girls out and Melissa is a team leader. And Saundra Libertoski had her best offensive night with 26 points, 12 rebounds and 11 steals. That’s a triple-double. The rest of the girls really got it together tonight. It’s fun to watch Saundra and Carlee (Yon) work together out on the court.”

Twenty-six points was Libertoski’s high for the year and she was happy the team could pull out a win.

“The season’s been difficult, a tough season,” she said. “We’ve had less numbers and more young girls to work with. We’ve also played some very good opponents. Tonight, we played like we were back to normal. We played hard and finished strong.”

LL-H head coach Maureen Schick was disappointed with how her team played.

“I thought we went back to our old habits,” Schick said. “We stuck with them in the first quarter, but the second and third quarter put us behind. We have quick girls but no real scorer. We missed a lot of shots and missed a lot of opportunities, but our girls can’t catch.

“They (W-M) mostly did what we expected. They pressed the whole game and were aggressive and I was surprised how much they ran.”

Both teams came out in a full-court press and LL-H’s Laura Lyons made a steal and then produced a 3-point play the old-fashioned way with a drive to the basket and a free throw.

W-M’s Libertoski, Yon and Alexa Jilek were very active on the press and scored on lay-ins and short and medium-range jump shots.

But the Lakes stayed with the Cardinals and took a 16-15 lead by the quarter’s end.

By the second quarter, it was apparent what W-M’s simple game strategy was. Press like crazy, get a turnover or steal, get downcourt before Lake Linden’s defenders and score on a lay up or short shot. It was simple but effective.

“I’d rather run plays on offense, but whatever works,” Libertoski said.

With Libertoski, Yon and Hailey Hautala doing all the scoring in the second quarter, W-M began to pull away by outscoring the Lakes 16-6 and led 31-22 at the half.

The Cardinals opened the third quarter by scoring six straight points. Jilek drilled a shot from the corner and then took a sharp pass from Hautala for an easy score. Yon made a nice drive around her defender and scored as W-M stretched the lead to 37-25.

Libertoski finished the quarter with two free throws and W-M went up 42-28.

Erin Seppala splashed a 3 early in the fourth quarter, but Libertoski scorched the nets for 12 of her 26 points in the quarter as the Cardinals pulled away 61-39.

Lyons notched 12 points for the Lakes and Kiersten Codere dropped in 10.

After Libertoski’s huge night, Yon threw down 13 points and Jilek reached double figures with 12.

W-M won the junior varsity game.

The Cardinals (3-8, 3-5) host Ontonagon in another conference game on Thursday at 6:30 p.m.

– – –

LL-H 16 6 6 11 — 39

W-M 15 16 11 19 — 61

Lake Linden – Erin Seppala 7, Mackenzie LaPage 2, McKenna 3, Josalyn Perala 5, Laura Lyons 12, Kierstyn Codere 10. FT’s: 7-16, Fouls: 13, Fouled out: none, 3-pointers: Seppala 2.

W-M – Carlee Yon 13, Hailey Hautala 8, Saundra Libertoski 26, Alexa Jilek 12, Melissa Wanink 2. FT’s: 11-17, Fouls: 13 , Fouled out: none, 3-pointers: Hautala 2.