Saturday, February 23, 2013

SPORTS STORY >> Lady Bison back in state tourney

Leader sports editor

The Carlisle Lady Bison halted a three-year sabbatical from the state tournament with a dominant win over England on Thursday in the first round of the class 2A East regional in Carlisle.

The Lady Bison and the Lady Lions had met twice before this season. Each previous meeting was also at Carlisle and the two teams split those games in two close contests.

Thursday’s win wasn’t close very much beyond the first quarter.

A clear strategy of stopping England’s leading scorer Alesha Pennster was executed almost perfectly by the Carlisle defense. Pennster didn’t make a field goal until the third quarter on her 14th attempt. She finished with just six points on 2 of 22 shooting from the floor and 2 of 7 from the free-throw line.

“We definitely had a game plan of stopping her,” Carlisle coach Jonathan Buffalo said. “We wanted to get up on her real close outside, and if she got by we wanted one or two girls right in her way with hands all the way up. The girls did a great job of executing that plan.”

Pennster did a poor job ofusing Carlisle’s defensive strategy to find open teammates. She continued to shoot and shoot amidst heavy traffic, but she wasn’t the only Lady Lion struggling from the floor. England made just 16 of 72 shot attempts for 22 percent. They were just 5 of 15 from the free-throw line. Most of England’s points came off putbacks after offensive rebounds.

Carlisle didn’t get many offensive rebounds, and thus not as many shots, but they hit at a much higher percentage. The Lady Bison made 43 percent of their attempts on 24 of 46 shooting. Post player Faith Walker was 11 of 20 and finished with a game-high 27 points.

“She was outstanding for us tonight,” Buffalo said of Walker. “She’s been coming on lately. She’s been averaging about 18 the last several games, but she played very well tonight.”

The game was tied at 14 after one quarter. Though Pennster got just one free throw, England point guard Laukinda Criss drained two three pointers and the Lady Lions got six points from their bench in the opening frame. But without Pennster handling most of the scoring duties, the rest of the Lady Lions couldn’t maintain their good start.

Carlisle’s Breanna Young led the charge in the second quarter that saw the Lady Bison move out to a 10-point lead. She had six points in a 14-4 run that forced England to call timeout with 2:23 left in the half. The timeout was effective in stopping Carlisle’s scoring run, but didn’t help England’s offense. A rash of turnovers by both teams meant neither team scored the rest of the half and the score remained 28-18 until halftime.

The second half was a different story for Carlisle, which had its best offensive showing in the third and blew the game open. All six Lady Bison that got on the floor in the third quarter scored, led by Walker’s eight points. The final tally of the third quarter was 20-8 and resulted in a 48-26 lead going into the fourth. England was unable to match its 14 points in the first quarter in the second and third combined.

The onslaught continued a couple of minutes into the fourth with the lead reaching 27 points on two occasions, but Buffalo pulled the starters midway through.

The Lady Lions finally got hot with about three minutes remaining, making four of their last six shots, including two three pointers.

Young was the only other Lady Bison in double figures with 10 points. Presley Carter finished with eight points and nine rebounds. Sloane Henderson came off the bench to add seven points and seven assists.