Third time’s the charm: Lions earn another victory

Paul Peterson/For the Gazette Finlandia's Molly Berg brings the ball upcourt Wednesday night against St. Scholastica College. The Lions scored their third straight win, 61-57.

HANCOCK — A young Finlandia Lions women’s basketball team learned a couple of more lessons Wednesday night in a game against the St. Scholastica Saints.

The Lions got off to a slow start, regained their footing and then held off the visiting Saints in scoring a 61-57 victory at Paavo Nurmi Center.

The win was the third in a row for the Blue and White and that pleased coach Mariah LaPointe-Dunham.

“They (Saints) came in and played hard right off the bat,” the first-year coach said. “If there’s one thing we can measure from that, it’s that the old Finlandia team of last month may have folded.

“But the new Finlandia team of January came right back in and made a couple of runs, and that’s something we’ve talked about.”

Two freshmen, Harlee Froberg and Mariah Austin, played key roles in helping the Lions dig out of a 20-8 deficit after one quarter last night.

Froberg, the former Houghton High standout, tossed in a team-leading 17 points, while Austin, the ex-Ishpeming High product, chipped in 14 points and 12 rebounds.

“It was nice to see Harlee (Froberg) come alive. She hit some big shots tonight. She’s been kind of quiet recently,” LaPointe-Dunham said. “And it’s kind of nice to get a double-double from Mariah (Austin) every night.”

The Lions had other heroes in the game. Katie Lundeen also had a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds, and Molly Berg (Hancock) came off the bench to register 12 points and three assists.

“Those two players played key roles,” LaPointe-Dunham said. “I didn’t start Molly tonight just to see how she could react …. and she came off the bench and played with fire.”

After closing to 32-28 at the half, the Lions used a 22-10 third quarter to assume a 50-42 margin with a quarter left.

Froberg hit two triples to make it 56-47 early in the final stanza before the Saints rallied back.

Austin’s steady play down the stretch and a pair of free throws by Berg finally locked it up.

Katie Loman added seven points and seven rebounds.

The Saints, 2-11 on the season, were led by Kaylee Kennedy with 18 points. Mariah Pearson notched 13 more.

The Lions will host MIAA team Adrian College Friday in a 1 p.m. contest.

ST. SCHOLASTICA — Pearson 13, Kennedy 18, Nowllng 2, Huber 9, Walther 8, Cieluch 3, Smith 1, Bystrom 2. FG: 21-60; FT  11-17; Rebounds: 34 (Cieluch 11); Fouls: 19; Fouled out: None; 3-point FG: Huber 3, Pearson 3. Kennedy 1.

FINLANDIA — Froberg 17, Loman 7, Austin 14, Berg 12, Lundeen 10, Nagy 1. FG: 19-51; Rebounds: 42 (Austin 12); Fouls: 14; Fouled out: None; 3-point FG: Froberg 4, Austin 3, Berg 2, Loman 1.

Halftime score: SSC 32, FU 28.