Young Cardinals survive a push from Lyle-Pacelli girls

Published 9:12 pm Thursday, February 9, 2023

The LeRoy-Ostrander girls basketball team is incredibly young, but it leaned on its three most experienced players to survive a second half Lyle-Pacelli run and beat the Athletics 59-52 in Pacelli Gym Thursday.

L-P pulled within 53-49 with 1:30 left in the game after Olivia Heard hit a three and converted a steal for a lay-up.

L-O took a 54-49 lead when senior Jordan Runde hit a free throw, and eighth grader Miranda Nagel sealed the win when she scored on a put-back to make it 56-49.

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Runde finished with 20 points, eight rebounds and six steals for the Cardinals (4-16 overall), junior Jenna Olson scored 14 points and sophomore Benita Nolt had 17 points and 21 rebounds.

L-O’s numbers are so limited that the team has no JV squad this year.

“We have nine eighth graders and we’ve started three of them at different points,” L-O head coach Kelly Masters said of his team. “A lot of them are playing varsity when they really should be playing JV. They’ve come a long way this year and we’ve really become a different team. Jordan, Jenna and Benita are the key to our team and they keep everyone in check. They do a really good job of energizing the young kids.”

The Cardinals scored the first seven points of the game and they led 12-2, but L-P was able to fight back in the game in the second half and tie it when Lexi Lewis hit a three to make it 27-27. Lewis also hit a jump shot to put her team up 29-27 with 15:10 left in the game.

Runde found her motivation from the awareness that her senior year is ticking down with the Cardinals.

“It’s my last year, so I just want to finish out strong and play for my girls,” Runde said. “I’m always being motivating for them, even when they’re having a tough time. They always need to be hyped up.”

Nolt ended up fouling out late in the game, but she did produce a personal 7-0 run that put her team up 41-35.

“We just had to stay calm and make sure that we all do our jobs,” Nolt said. “We have such a young team, but we work together and we all push each other. Sometimes you have to pull the younger girls aside and tell them what to do.”

Kirsten Koopal had 23 points, 12 rebounds, two blocks and two steals for L-P (2-19 overall).

LeRoy-Ostrander 25  34  –  59

Lyle-Pacelli 21  31  –  52

LO scoring: Jordan Runde, 20; Benita Nolt, 17; Jenna Olson, 14; Miranda Nagel, 4; Maria Alamraz-Nolt, 3; Keira Olson, 1

LP scoring: Kirsten Koopal, 23; Olivia Heard, 13; Morgan Klankowski, 9; Lexi Lewis, 7