Athletics defend their way to a win over Crusaders

Published 9:16 pm Friday, January 21, 2022

LYLE — The Lyle-Pacelli girls basketball team didn’t waste any time showing it meant business and it was able stay in control in the second half as it bested Mankato Loyola 54-30 on Friday.

The win snapped a seven-game losing skid for the Athletics, who started things off with a 9-2 run and never gave up that lead.

Loyola (3-7 overall) never got closer than four in the first half and L-P led by double digits for much of the second frame.

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“We’ve kind of had a tough time playing a complete game and the girls did a good job of keeping it up with their press,” L-P head coach Rebekah Gatzemeyer said. “I think we really needed this. I’m really proud of our girls.”

L-P (2-12 overall) put the game away early in the second half when Olivia Heard hit back-to-back threes in a two-minute stretch to trigger a 21-4 run for L-P.

“It just kind of happened. A lot of times they don’t fall, so it’s exciting when they do,” Heard said. “We’ve gotten close as a team even this past week and that has helped.”

Alana Rogne had a big night on both ends of the floor for L-P as she finished with 25 points, four rebounds and six steals. She led the press for the Athletics and helped make it tough for the Crusaders to get into their offense.

“Usually we struggle in the second half, but in this one we came back and kept playing,” Rogne said. “Our defense was probably our best tonight.”

The Athletics celebrated their younger counterparts on what served as PALS night. Players in elementary school were able to lineup with the team during starting lineups as a reward for the work they’ve put in with the varsity players in practice this season.

“It was adorable,” Gatzemeyer said. “They’re all really good at working with the young kids and seeing them exchange gifts was really sweet. Hopefully we’re encouraging them to keep playing basketball.”

ML 12  18  —  30

LP 23  31  —  54

LP scoring: Alana Rogne, 25; Olivia Heard, 9; Kirsten Koopal, 6; Morgan Klankowski, 5; Kendahl Lewis, 3; Abby Christopherson, 3; Kearah Schafer, 2; Metach Oman, 1; rebounds: 40 (Klankowski, 6); free throws: 47 percent (8-for-17); turnovers: 11