Superlarks pull one out in Southland

Published 10:47 pm Monday, January 5, 2009

ADAMS — Grand Meadow has finally won a close one.

After dropping all three of their contests decided by six points or less this season, the Superlarks girls basketball team gutted out a 52-44 win over Southland in Adams Monday.

The Rebels (5-6 overall) trailed 43-34 with 6:21 left, but they used a 10-2 spurt that was capped by a long jump shot by Hilary Johnson, who had a foot on the three-point line, to make it a 45-44 Superlark lead with 2:27 left in the game.

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GM (7-3 overall) shutout the Rebels the rest of the way and Jessica Benson, who had 18 points and 14 rebounds, drilled all four of her free throws down the stretch to ice the game.

“It was nice to make them at the end when it counted because I was missing my free throws at the beginning,” Benson said.

The Larks ran clock for much of the last two minutes and were patient with the ball when it mattered.

“We did a really good job of keeping our cool in this game. In the past we’ve let some close ones go. We just did a good job of passing, slowing it down and going when we needed to,” said GM point guard Bailey Gomer, who had 14 points and hit 10-of-12 from the free throw line.

Gomer was tough on the Rebels all night as she was strong with the dribble and broke down the Southland defense consistently.

“Our goal was to hold Jessica (Benson) in the teens and we didn’t do to bad with that. But I think Gomer was the difference in the game,” Southland head coach Dave Decker said.

Southland opened the contest by jumping out to a 10-2 lead, but after a three-pointer by Southland’s Kim Craig to make it 16-9 with nine minutes left in the first half, the Superlarks ran off 10 straight points to take a lead they would not give up for the rest of the night.

“I felt us getting a little caught up in the physicalness and the emotional part of it early on,” GM head coach Dawn Baudoin said. “I think the biggest accomplishment tonight was that we kept our composure and kept going to the basket.”

After losing to the Rebels 59-53 Dec. 5, GM was not surprised when Southland made it’s late run near the end of the game.

“I was expecting the comeback because it was such a close game last time. But I knew we were gonna pull it out,” Gomer said.

The Rebels were struggled on offense for two reasons. Chelsey Smith, who scored five of her seven points in the first three minutes, missed much of the night with foul trouble, and the Rebels couldn’t score inside consistently.

“We needed to get more offense around the basket. When they went zone, we didn’t handle that very well. All the sudden no body thought they could shoot,” Decker said. “Chelsey started off having a good ball game, but her foul trouble hurt us.”

GM 29 23 — 52

Southland 25 19 — 44

GM scoring: Jessica Benson, 18; Bailey Gomer, 14; Andrea Swanson, 6; Ashley Wilson, 6; Alex Swanson, 4; Brittany Olson, 2; free throws: 74 percent (20-for-27); rebounds: 29 (Benson, 14); turnovers: 21

Southland scoring: Brandi Schammel, 11; Jana Schammel, 9; Haley Janssen, 8; Chelsey Smith, 7; Hilary Johnson, 4; Kim Craig, 3; Danielle Irvin, 2; free throws: 54 percent (14-for-26); rebounds: 34 (Janssen, 10); turnovers: 21