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After trailing by two points late in the first half, Lone Tree used a 19-2 run to beat Iowa Mennonite 46-34 on Tuesday.
“At half we just talked about being more active on the defensive end,” Lone Tree coach Jonathan Harshman said. “We were hoping that would lead to transition opportunities and get us out of the rut we were in on the offensive end. We also missed a lot of open shots in the first half that we felt would eventually start falling for us if we kept getting them, so we emphasized staying aggressive and not settling. Fortunately, we were able to speed the game up and get those transition looks that we wanted.”
Elena Sieverding stole the ball and scored just before time expired in the first half to tie the game 19-19. Sieverding scored all four of her points in the first half and had six rebounds, six assists and nine steals.
After scoring only seven points in the first quarter, the Lady Lions scored eight in the first two minutes of the second half. Maddie Forbes and Liz Dodson combined for all 15 of Lone Tree’s points in the third quarter as the Lady Lions built a 34-21 lead.
“I think we realized that in the first half, they were being the aggressors and we weren’t,” Dodson said. “We made it our priority to really come out and really be the ones to control the game in the third quarter.”
Dodson finished with nine points, three steals and three blocked shots. Forbes led Lone Tree with 17 points.
Suzanna Yoder scored eight of her 21 points in the fourth quarter for IMS, but Ashley Musser came off the bench to knock down a pair of three-pointers, keeping Lone Tree ahead by double digits the rest of the way.
“This was a disappointing loss tonight,” IMS coach Kari Heusinkveld said. “We’ve been taking big steps forward in our last several outings, but this second half was a step back. Basketball is a game of runs and adjustments, and we just didn’t respond in that second half.”
The Iowa Mennonite roster grew to eight players with the addition of sophomore Rubye Ney on Friday, Jan. 6 against Mediapolis. Adding Ney was key for IMS, as the team struggled with foul trouble, still missing Rachel Miller due to injury.
Yoder knocked down a three-pointer and a pair of free throws to give IMS an early 5-1 lead. Sieverding scored Lone Tree’s first field goal after a four-minute drought to cut the deficit to four. Yoder scored eight of Iowa Mennonite’s 10 points in the second quarter to put IMS up by two in the closing seconds of the first half.
“It was great to see us come out and execute early on,” Heusinkveld said. “The girls bought in to the game plan and were very focused.”
Avery Blauvelt had seven points and eight rebounds, while Mia Graber grabbed a team-high 10 rebounds.
Riley Warson scored six points and had four steals for Lone Tree, who outscored IMS 27-15 in the second half.
“We just weren’t able to convert at a high rate in the first half,” Harshman said Fortunately, in the second half we did better and were able to make some of those open shots. We had a couple of girls be more aggressive and put pressure on their defense. Combine that with our improved defensive effort and some turnovers that we were able to create, and we were able to go on a run in the third quarter.”