Round Lake pulls away from Grant
With the exception of a few strong surges by host Grant, the Round Lake girls basketball team was in control Tuesday night in Fox Lake.
The Panthers (13-3, 3-1) got off to a fantastic start with an early 17-2 lead and a 23-7 lead early in the second quarter.
Grant (5-7, 1-3) did pull to within 27-22 early in the third quarter, but that was as close as the Bulldogs would get the rest of the way as Round Lake pulled away for a 58-46 Northern Lake County Conference victory.
Round Lake senior Amari Cole was a big factor throughout the contest with 10 of her game-high 19 points in the first half as the Panthers took a 27-20 lead into halftime.
A driving basket by Grant's Melissa Ketter cut the lead to 5 points. But Round Lake would take a comfortable 46-29 advantage into the fourth quarter.
"This is like a big game for us just in terms of having everybody here today except for Allison Dittmer (starter), who is a really big part of our team and she should be back Friday," said Round Lake coach Molly Hennig, whose team outscored Grant 19-9 in the third quarter.
"Our girls started out strong obviously, we lost to Prairie Ridge in the championship game right before the holiday break so it was nice to respond like this after the break."
Besides Cole, Taylor Major also had a big game for the Panthers with 8 of her 15 points in the second half while teammate Lisette Herrera also hit double figures with 11 points.
A 10-footer by Ketter cut the lead to 49-40 with 4:27 to play. But an inside hoop by Herrera, and a huge 3-pointer by teammate Judith Cerroblanco boosted the lead back to 54-40 with 3:31 remaining.
"We have to take our time and play our game, talking and calming each other down and bringing each other together really helped us pull out the win today," said Cole. "We also created opportunities for our guards to be able to put points on the board too, and getting back was something that we also had to execute in our defensive transition."
Grant was led by senior Cora Hughs with a team-high 15 points while Ketter and MaCalyn Flores scored 9 points each for the Bulldogs. Lilli Burton scored 6 points for the Panthers.
"They have some power forwards, they're a strong rebounding team, and we have to play to our strengths," said Grant coach Anna Bartels. "The girls kept their positive attitude the whole time, we got on a good run in the second quarter. But I wish we could keep that going the whole game."