Lakeview's hot streak sheds Liberty from a tie

The Bulldogs have one TAC loss after a 68-62 triumph over the Leopards.
CORTLAND -- A nearly perfect stretch of basketball for just more than three minutes in the second half proved to be the difference as Lakeview High defeated Liberty, 68-62, Thursday night in a Trumbull Athletic Conference girls basketball showdown.
The teams came in with identical 10-2 records, including 5-1 in the TAC, with both teams having suffered their only league loss to Brookfield.
Both teams played like 10-2 teams, but Lakeview scored on seven straight possessions from the 1:25 mark of period three to the 6:07 mark of the fourth quarter to turn a 42-41 advantage into a 57-45 lead.
From there, the Bulldogs made 11-of-14 free throws to seal the victory.
"We both had just the one loss to Brookfield, so we knew it would be a good game," Lakeview coach Glenn Rowland said. "We are real happy with the way we played.
"We had some mental breakdowns and we need to block out better, but we really put together a good stretch there," Rowland said.
Balanced scoring
The Bulldogs moved the ball well which resulted in balanced scoring, a lot of assists and a great shooting percentage (22-of-39, 56 percent, including 15-of-22 after the first quarter).
Alynn Martin contributed 19 points, four assists and four steals; Joanna Novotny had 14 points, eight rebounds and six assists; Chelsea Butler scored 15 points and grabbed four rebounds; and Jen Baker scored 13 points and dished out four assists.
"We primarily have five guards, we don't have much height," Rowland said. "So when we are successful we've had very balanced scoring."
Liberty didn't have as much balance, getting 21 points, eight rebounds and three steals from Michelle Dykes, and 16 points and 12 rebounds from Kotchy Neskovich.
Brittany Armour contributed 12 points and five rebounds while Brianne Pettway had four assists.
"We could have played better," Liberty coach John Hritz said. "Dykes and Neskovich came to play and they gave great effort, but we needed a little more from some of the other girls."
Focus on Dykes
That especially was the case in the second half when Lakeview played a zone defense and concentrated on not letting Dykes get an open look.
To her credit, Dykes didn't force things and tried to stay within the offense, but the Leopards had trouble scoring while Lakeview was making its key run.
"The other girls didn't pick things up and keep us in the game," Hritz said. "But Lakeview ran into a hot streak and it seemed for a while they couldn't miss. They are a nice ballclub, they've got good shooters and they came to play. Sometimes you just have to take your hat off to the other team."
Novotny's bucket with 1:25 left in the third quarter made the score 44-41, Lakeview, and started the Bulldogs on their offensive streak.
After a Liberty miss, Raelynn Burns scored her only bucket of the game on a feed from Martin. Novotny then tallied off a steal to make it 48-41 before Dykes scored just before the third-quarter buzzer on a good pass from Armour.
Martin made it four consecutive successful possessions with a bucket 11 seconds into the final quarter on a pass from Baker. Dykes scored again, this time on a pass from Pettway, to make it 50-45. Kiley
Mathews scored her only field goals of the game on consecutive possessions on passes from Novotny and Martin. After a Martin steal, Butler banged in a 3-pointer off a pass from Baker and the score was 57-45 with 6:07 to play.
Liberty kept plugging away, but could get no closer than six on several occasions, mostly because of the Bulldogs' free throw accuracy.
Lakeview was 18-of-24 from the line for the game. The Leopards shot well also, making 46 percent (25-of-54) of their field goal tries and eight-of-12 from the line.

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