BRISTOL — Tenacious defense allowed the Lyman Hall girls basketball team to keep its Class LL first-round game against Bristol Eastern close for the first half on Tuesday night.
A long dry spell for the home team enabled the Trojans to dictate pace, but everything changed at the start of the second half.
The 15th-seeded Lancers used their pressing defense to ignite a decisive third-quarter surge en route to a 51-42 victory over No. 18 Lyman Hall at the Thomas Monihan Gymnasium.
Before the Lancers could book passage to the second round, they found out the Trojans (13-9) could play the transition game, too. Two steals by Alexa Eves, one by Kailey Lipka (team-high 13 points, 3 steals) and another by Kelly Fernandez fueled an 8-0 run in the fourth quarter.
Sabrina Smith (3 steals) converted on a pass from Fernandez. Fernandez slashed to the hoop for two more. Lipka picked a pocket and slipped in for a bucket that drew the Trojans within 41-37 with 4:50 still to play.
“At that point, if we got another stop or a good lock, a three, but we struggled a little offensively,” LH coach Tom Lipka said. “We missed a ton of lyups in the first half and went 14-for-30 from the foul line. If we just went 20-for-30, it might have made a difference. But give Eastern credit. They played hard and made some baskets when they needed to. We had some opportunities, but just didn’t convert.”
Eastern’s relentless pressure appeared to wear the Trojans down. Jillian LeBeau scored on a putback and Hannah Magheni slashed to the bucket for a layup. The Lancers forced turnovers on four straight possessions and expanded the lead to 49-39 with 90 seconds remaining.
“At the end, yeah, we were a little tired, and a little frustrated, too, because the shots were not going in,” said Fernandez, who grabbed 11 rebounds and scored eight points.
“Everybody was on the floor doing our best to get rebounds.”
Elise Hastings (7 points, 5 rebounds) scored the first points of the game before the press-oriented Lancers (17-6) went on a 7-0 run.
The Trojans went over four minutes without a field goal, but the staunch rebounding by Fernandez kept them close.
Transition hoops by Lipka and Smith helped keep Lyman Hall (13-9) on Eastern’s heels after one, 15-9.
The lid on the hoop tightened considerably in the second quarter. The teams combined to go 4-for-30 from the field. Eastern went the final 5½ minutes without scoring, but the Trojans (6-for-15 at the line in the first half) were unable to take advantage. The Lancers held a 19-16 lead at the half.
Magheni and Miranda Janick led all scorers with 16 points apiece for Eastern. Diana Wnuk added 13.
CLASS LL FIRST ROUND
no. 15 BRISTOL EASTERN 51,
no. 18 lyman hall 42
lyman hall (42)
Stephanie Gonzalez 0 0-0 0, Kailey Lipka 3 6-9 13, Lindsay Lipka 0 0-0 0, Alexa Eves 1 0-0 2, Elise Hastings 3 1-2 7, Theresa Lynch 1 0-4 3, Sabrina Smith 2 2-4 6, Kelly Fernandez 2 4-6 8, Sam Carbone 1 1-4 3. Totals: 13 14-29 42.
BRISTOL EASTERN (51)
Miranda Janick 7 0-0 16, Meredith Forman 0 0-1 0, Hannah Maghini 4 7-11 16, Diana Wnuk 5 2-2 13, Miya Laprise 2 0-0 4, Jillian LeBeau 1 0-0 2, Maura McGuire 0 0-0 0, Paige McLaughlin 0 0-0 0. Totals: 19 9-14 51.
Lyman Hall 09 07 12 14 — 42
Bristol Eastern 15 04 22 10 — 51
3-Point Goals—LH: 2 (K. Lipka, Lynch); BE: 4 (Janick 2, Maghini, Wnuk). Team Records—LH: 13-9; BE: 17-6.
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