Lakeview overcomes Girard, slow start for victory

GIRARD – Sometimes those crazy teenagers just don’t catch on quick enough.

Lakeview Bulldogs girls’ basketball coach Adam Lewis stressed the importance of playing with intensity from the start against the Girard Indians. Lewis remembered all too well watching the Bulldogs being outscored 20-3 in the fourth quarter of the first game between the teams, which the Indians won by 13 points.

So what do the Bulldogs do in the first quarter of the rematch Thursday? Put up six points and fall behind by 10.

The message about intensity sunk in by the start of the second period, and Lakeview went on to post a 48-37 win in an All-American Conference, National Division game.

“We looked at that tape (of the first game) a hundred times,” Lewis said. “It wasn’t necessarily we were in the incorrect defense or not running the right plays. We weren’t doing it with purpose and intensity. That’s been our mantra the past two weeks. The first quarter we were not playing with that (intensity).”

The Bulldogs improved to 13-5 and 8-1 in the conference, setting up a showdown with the Newton Falls Tigers, who are undefeated in the AAC, next Thursday. The Indians are 13-6 and 5-3 in the conference.

The Bulldogs spotted the Indians one free throw by Alasjia Dykes to start the second quarter before scoring the next 10 points. Girard never relinquished the lead in the period, but Lewis felt much better trailing by one point, 25-24, at halftime.

“The first quarter was scary,” said Lakeview junior Alli Pavlik, who scored 28 points. “We didn’t wake up. We weren’t ready for that. They came out much stronger. They wanted the ball more than we did. Then we started to get into it and pick it up. We need to be quicker on that because some of those other teams we play, like Newton Falls, are going to be better than that.”

The Bulldogs took their first lead, 28-27, when Calli Schmitt scored from inside early in the third quarter. The Indians regained the lead at 30-28, but Pavlik tied the score at 30 and gave Lakeview the lead for good at 32-30 with the second of her three third-quarter fielders.

The Bulldogs had a 35-31 lead after the third period and steadily pulled away in the final session. Lewis slowed down the offense in the final minutes, forcing the Indians to foul. Pavlik went to the line eight times in the quarter, converting on seven free throws.

Girard hurt its cause by committing 26 turnovers. The transition game favored the Bulldogs, who prefer a fast-paced style.

“I thought we got tired in the third quarter,” Indians coach Andy Saxon said. “We kind of ran out of gas a little bit. The first quarter we played well. We handled the pressure pretty well. They turned up the pressure on us. We don’t score enough to be turning the ball over that easily.”

The Bulldogs played well on the defensive end after the first quarter, limiting the Indians to less than 10 points in each of the final three periods. Lakeview assistant coach Sarah Brugler-Lewis gave Rebecca Mansell the task of guarding Miranda Boyle, who was limited to five points.

“I felt I did pretty well,” said Mansell, who sported a slight bruise below her right eye as a result of a collision with Pavlik.

Most of the collisions weren’t from teammates. Both teams played a physical style. Pavlik had to pick herself off the floor more than once.

“My knees are killing me because I fell so many times,” Pavlik said. “They’re bruised all over.”

Bree Bishop led the Indians in scoring with 15 points.

Lakeview is at Hubbard Monday. Girard plays at Brookfield Monday.