LINDSBORG – A strong second half on Friday, plus big games from Katja Blanchat and Adrian Hazelwood lifted the Smoky Valley girls to a six-point, 50-44, home court win over Larned.
With the win the Lady Vikings now have a 4-4 record on the season as they prepare for a road trip on Tuesday to Sterling for the first round of the Sterling Tournament. The Lady Vikings are the fourth seed and are scheduled to play fifth-seed Hugoton. If Smoky Valley wins on Tuesday, they would then play Thursday against the winner of top-seed Southeast of Saline and eighth-seed Sterling.
“I told the girls that it doesn’t matter how the job gets done as long as it gets done,” explained Lady Viking head coach Jason Drouillard. “No game in this league will be easy. Ton of credit to Larned for being prepared and ready to play.”
After the Lady Vikings took a three-point, 12-9 lead in the first quarter, Larned outscored Smoky Valley 19-14 in the second quarter and took a two-point, 28-26 lead over the Lady Vikings at the halftime break.
Smoky Valley came out of the break on fire and powered their way back into the lead at 45-38 then held on in the fourth quarter for the final six-point victory.
Neither Smoky Valley or Larned had outstanding nights when it came to shooting which means the two teams combined for 90 rebounds, 50 of which were taken down by the lady Vikings.
Adrian Hazelwood and Katja Blanchat led the Lady Vikings as Hazelwood connected on four three-pointers while scoring 21 points and just missed a double-double with nine rebounds. Blanchat did record a double double as she scored 11 points while dominating the boards with 16 rebounds. Blanchat also blocked four shots. Both Nevaeh Spitler and Tinley Scott also worked hard in the paint with six and five rebounds, respectively.
Coach Drouillard concluded his post-game reflections by adding, “I like the leadership we got from Katja Blanchat as she had a monstrous game with 11 points and 16 rebounds. Nevaeh Spitler was also big for us as she continues to improve, and I just love her attitude. As a team, we need to take care of the ball better and stop fouling.”
In the game the Lady Vikings won despite during the ball over 22 times and being whistled for 29 fouls.
SMOKY VALLEY LADY VIKINGS hosting Larned.
SCORING: Larned > 9-19-10-6 = 44; LADY VIKINGS > 12-14-19-5 = 50.
TEAM STATS: Larned > 2-FGs – 14/50; 3-PTs – 1/12; FTs – 13/24; AST – 8; REBs – 40; TO – 15; STLs – 11; BLKs – 1; FLs – 20. LADY VIKINGS > 2-FGs – 11/34; 3-PTs – 6/20; FTs – 10/21; AST – 10; REBs – 50; TO – 22; STLs – 10; BLKs – 5; FLs – 29.
LADY VIKING INDIVIDUAL STAT LEADERS: Scoring > Adrian Hazelwood – 21; Katja Blanchat – 11; Eva Malm – 8; Tinley Scott – 5; Trista Spitler – 4; Breanne Peters – 1. 3-Pointers Made > Hazelwood – 4; Malm, Scott – 1. Assists > Malm – 4; Blanchat – 2. Rebounds > Blanchat – 16; Hazelwood – 9; Nevaeh Spitler – 6; Scott – 5; Malm – 4; Clara McElroy, Sophia Fruits – 3; Peters – 2. Steals > Fruits – 4; Scott – 3; Hazelwood – 2. Blocked Shots > Blanchat – 4.
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