By TIM CLEVELAND
While the 69-46 final score may indicate an easy Lakeview victory over Howland on Monday night, the Bulldogs got a tough first half from the Tigers, but were able to remain undefeated.
Lakeview led by only five points at halftime, but Bulldogs coach Adam Lewis said once his team got its bearings, it was able to pull away in the final two quarters.
“I think we started finishing in the half court and we became a little more patient in our half-court offense,” he said. “Defensively, we just came up with some big plays. We got a lot of rebounds. We just wore them down and 32 minutes is a long time.”
Howland coach John Diehl agreed Lakeview’s size inside wore the Tigers down as the game progressed.
“They’re a lot stronger than we are,” he said. “Their two big girls [5-foot-9 Addison Becker and 6-0 Calli Schmitt] are way bigger than our two big girls. I think they kind of wore us down.”
Alli Pavlik led Lakeview (16-0) with 24 points, scoring six in each quarter. The 5-foot-7 senior could have had more than 30 points, but had at least half a dozen shots spin out of the rim.
“I was missing a good amount of shots,” she said. “I tell you, I don’t know. They would go in and come out. I guess God just didn’t want them to go in.”
Lewis said he was pleased Pavlik received so much support from other players.
“She’s averaging 28 or 30 a game right now,” he said. “She played a great game; I thought they all played well. We were very balanced tonight. That’s something we’ve been trying to do.”
While Pavlik led all players in scoring, Diehl wasn’t upset with Howland defense on her.
“I think we did a halfway decent job on Pavlik,” he said. “She ended with 24, but she didn’t get an easy shot all night.”
After Howland (9-8) went on a 13-0 run to take a 19-12 lead in the second quarter, Pavlik led Lakeview back. She scored a pair of baskets to bring the Bulldogs within 19-18, then she scored again for a one-point lead and dished to Becker to give Lakeview a 25-22 lead.
Becker, a sophomore, came off the bench to score 13 points for Lakeview, including going 9 of 10 from the foul line.
“She’s playing a lot of minutes for us this year. She’s very consistent,” Lewis said.
For Lakeview to remain undefeated, the Bulldogs have a pair of tough opponents to get by this week, starting with Liberty on Thursday.
“They gave us a game earlier in the season,” Lewis said of Lakeview’s 61-45 victory on Dec. 5. “Liberty’s definitely a game we take very seriously. And we’ve got undefeated Pymatuning Valley on Saturday.”