By William /

LITTLE RIVER – In a test of two top teams, the #3 ranked team in Class 1A Division I, the Little River girls took charge in the first half at home Friday in a battle with Elyria Christian scored an 18-point, 44-26 victory.

The Lady Redskins took a five-point lead into the second quarter when the Lady Eagles went cold from the field and scored just a pair of points, giving the Lady Redskins the opportunity to push their advantage out to 14 at 21-7 going into the halftime break.

While Elyria chipped a couple of points off their deficit in the third quarter, the Lady Redskins played consistent basketball in all four quarters, scoring between 10 and 12 points in each one) to earn the final 18-point win.

“We played a loaded Little River team tonight and I was impressed by the improvement they have shown since we saw them in December,” noted Lady Eagle head coach Greg Fields. “They are playing extremely good defense, and they had us sped up and out of our comfort zone all night. I was pleased with the way our girls battled through all four quarters. We could have come out of halftime frustrated that we only scored two points in the second quarter, but we showed a lot of heart and outscored Little River in the third quarter. We just did not have enough in the tank to match their energy in the fourth.”

According to Lady Redskin head coach Brent Clark, “Elyria is a very well coached team and play really hard. They changed their defenses a lot and put some pressure on us as well and we needed that.”

Individually for the Lady Eagles, nobody reached double digits scoring and were led by Ryland Hawkinson and KiLynn Starburg, each scored eight points. While Hawkinson led the team in rebounding with seven, Starburg made a pair of three-pointers, dished out a pair of assists and matched Hawkinson with three steals.

For the Lady Redskins, Alaina Eck, and Lily Boughfman each reached double figures in the scorebook with 14 and 11 points, respectively, while Audrey Olander just missed with nine. Lily Boughfman led the team in the paint with eight rebounds and a whopping seven blocked shots. Olander dished out four assists and both Eck and Ashley Stephenson recorded five steals.

Coach Fields gave Starburg some high praise for the evening by saying, “KiLynn (Starburg) had a great game tonight as she played with a lot of energy and focus. She was extremely active defensively, and she was aggressive in breaking the press and taking the ball to the basket. Ryland (Hawkinson) had a solid game getting rebounds against some of the best bigs in the state for Class 1A level. “

Lady Redskin coach Clark concluded his reflections on the game by adding, “I thought Lily (Boughfman) played really well tonight and her stats back that up. Our man defense was extremely good in the first half.”

Now 16-1 for the season, Little River will be on the road Tuesday at Spearville while Elyria Christian drops to 11-5 as they prep to go on the road Monday when they play at Hutchinson Central Christian.

THE GAME:              1          2          3          4          FINAL

LADY EAGLES           5          2          13       6          26      

LADY REDSKINS       10       11       11       12       44

ELYRIA CHRISTIAN LADY EAGLE TEAM STATS: FG 11/38 (29%); 3-PTR 2/11 (18%); FT 2/7 (28%); AST 5; REBS 23; TO 20; STLS 9; BLK 3; PF 10.

ELYRIA CHRISTIAN LADY EAGLE INDIVIDUAL STAT LEADERS: SCORING (26 total points): Ryland Hawkinson – 8; KiLynn Starburg – 8; Kylee Penner – 4; Allie Stone – 4; Mina Aroum – 2. 3-POINTERS MADE (2): Starburg – 2. ASSISTS: Starburg – 2; REBOUNDS: Hawkinson – 7; Penner – 4; Stone – 3; Starburg, Olivia Clark, Julia Allen – 2. STEALS: Starburg, Hawkinson – 3. BLOCKED SHOTS: Allen – 2.

LITTLE RIVER LADY REDSKINS TEAM STATS: FG 19/48 (40%); 3-PTR 3/5 (60%); FT 3/8 (38%); AST 15; REBS 21; TO 16; STLS 12; BLK 13; PF 8.

LITTLE RIVER LADY REDSKINS INDIVIDUAL STAT LEADERS: SCORING (44 total points): Alaina Eck – 14; Lily Boughfman – 11; Audrey Olander – 9; Ashley Stephenson – 7; Kate Ellwood – 2; Raelynn Welsh – 1. 3-POINTERS MADE (3): Eck – 2; Stephenson – 1. ASSISTS: Olander – 4; L. Boughfman, Elsie Boughfman – 3; Stephenson – 2; REBOUNDS: L. Boughfman – 8; E. Boughfman – 3; Olander, Stephenson, Amaya Sneath, MeKenzie Renken – 2. STEALS: Stephenson, Eck – 5; BLOCKED SHOTS: L. Boughfman – 7; Olander – 3; Stephenson, Renken, E. Boughfman – 1.