By RICH KELLY
For the Star Beacon
PAINESVILLE TOWNSHIP —
Defense is the calling card of most girls basketball teams in the Premier Athletic Conference. So, finding a hot handed shooter can be of great importance in league contests. Such was the case Wednesday night when the Riverside Beavers hosted the North Rangers.
After the Beavers controlled the first period, North found its hot hand in Lynsey Englebrecht, who scored 15 of her team’s 20 first half points on her way to a 24-point game. Her scoring gave the Rangers (3-4, 2-3 in PAC) a lead they expanded in the third period and held on to in recording a 50-40 PAC victory.
“We like to try to swing the ball around as much as we can to find an open shot,” Englebrecht said. “Whoever gets open is fine to take the shots, and tonight I got some good shots that went down for us.”
It was her long 3-pointer, her third of the first half, just before the buzzer, that gave the Rangers success in taking the lead at 20-19 after the Beavers (5-4, 3-4 in PAC) used good ball movement and a solid attack to gain an early lead.
“Lynsey had one of her better offensive games of the season tonight,” Rangers coach Paul Force said. “To win it takes big players to step up when they are needed, and she stepped up a lot to help us get the lead, and other girls stepped up in the second half to help us keep it.”
Several girls made big contributions in the second half for North.
“Katlyn Price came off the bench and gave us a big spark tonight,” Force said. The senior nailed all three shots she took, including a pair of 3-pointers, in scoring eight points.
Defense was also key for North. Leading that effort was Stef Chlad’s smothering Riverside’s Alexis Parsons. Parsons tallied just two buckets and seven points overall.
“This is as deep as we have gone into our bench all season,” Force said. “When you can go eight to nine players deep in a game, you will usually get some big contributions from most of them, and we did tonight.”
Winning statistical battles is part of the Ranger game plan.
“We won the free throw battle tonight and the turnover battle as well,” Force said. “When you win two of the three, you should win.”
“We knew coming in that North could make shots from the perimeter,” Riverside coach Brindi Kandel said. “When they started driving to the basket in the second period, we sagged in and they kicked the ball back outside and we couldn’t get out there quick enough to stop them. Lynsey had the hot hand, made some shots, and I think in the second half we may have gotten a little tired.”
The Beavers had taken a solid lead early in the game as Katie Klingman and Parsons each scored four in a 12-2 run over the first five minutes of the game.
From then on, only Klingman and Megan Carabotta could supply an offensive spark. Carabotta tallied 12 points to lead the way, and Klingman added 10 points while dominating the backboards with 16 rebounds. The only other Beaver with more than four points was Parsons with her seven.
Being outscored in the middle periods by a 33-15 count proved to be too much for the Beavers. North broke from a 26-23 lead with 3:22 left in the third quarter to take a double digit lead at 37-27, and the Beavers got it to seven points twice in the fourth period before sending the Rangers to the foul line late in the game. A five of nine effort from the stripe in the period helped keep Riverside at bay the rest of the way.
Kelly is a freelance writer from Jefferson.