Lakeview spoils Niles senior night

NILES — The Lakeview Bulldogs did what they need to do the remainder of the season and into the tournament when they visited Niles on Thursday — play the role of spoiler.

It was senior night for the Red Dragons, but the Bulldogs spoiled the party with a 46-37 Northeast-8 Conference victory.

Three players paced Lakeview in double figures, led by freshman Maggie Pavlansky with 17 points. Pavlansky played a great game despite recently injuring her nose. She wears a clear face mask for protection.

“I might have broken it last Thursday night against South Range,” Pavlansky said. “It was too swollen for the doctors to tell if it’s broken or not. I’m really proud of our defensive effort. We were able to knock down some shots. We played really hard this game. We really wanted it. We have a lot of heart. The defense really helped us.”

That defense helped Lakeview (2-14, 2-8) take a commanding 23-7 lead after one quarter. Pavlansky led the way with nine first-quarter points, including one from downtown. Senior Aneziah Fryer scored all seven of Niles’ points and also canned one from behind the arc.

Things didn’t get any better for Niles in the second or third quarters. After each team scored 14 points in the second, Lakeview led 37-21 at halftime. Emma Flanigan scored six of her 10 points in the second for Niles. Then, each team struggled to find the bottom of the basket in the third. Lakeview edged Niles, 6-4, in third to take a 43-25 advantage into the fourth.

“We just struggled,” Niles coach Makayla Butler said. “It was senior night. Emotions were going. Our routine was different. It’s hard when we switch up the things that we do before a game. We’ve had some injuries, and a couple girls got sick. We’re not playing up to the abilities that we can. We knew this year was going to be a rebuilding year. We’re looking toward the future.”

Seniors Kayla Taylor-Hall and Rachel Libert battled for Niles. Taylor-Hall hustled and rebounded. Cassie Pleacher drained a long 2-pointer in the third for the Red Dragons (5-12, 4-6).

Niles outscored Lakeview 12-3 in the final quarter, led by Fryer who scored 10 of her game-high 23 points. Fryer is a threat on defense as she will swipe the ball away in an instant. She has good dribbling skills. She’ll go behind her back, through her legs, or even dribble from her knees if the situation calls for it. Fryer is closing in on 1,000 points for her career.

“She’s doing amazing things,” Butler said. “Coming into tonight, she was 52 points away from 1,000. She’s about to make a commitment as to where she’ll play at the next level. She’s all about the team.”

Tiffany Bartholomew scored all 10 of her points in the first half, and Allison Augustine’s nice spin move late gave her 10 points as well, as Lakeview hung on for the win.

“I credit the girls for not giving up,” first-year Lakeview coach Kevin Haynie said. “We still have stuff to play for. We have two seniors (Bartholomew and Meg Zetterquist) on the team. They deserve more than one win. It’s nice to get this one. We’re hoping to get a couple more. I told the girls, ‘Don’t ever give up.’ There are teams that have struggled in the regular season. Then, in the postseason, they make a little run. We can learn from every game we play. Fryer is a heck of a player for Niles. We played great defense today. If we hit some shots, we can play with teams. I’m happy for my girls.”