Lakewood Tops Amherst in Overtime
The Lakewood girls basketball team defeated Amherst Steele 61-54 Saturday afternoon in an overtime battle. The Rangers took an big lead early, but the Comets battled back in the fourth quarter to send the game into overtime. Lakewood regained its composure during the extra session, outscoring Amherst 9-2. Senior center Olivia Nagy led the Rangers with 24 points.
Lakewood dominated early in the game, taking a 19-4 lead at the end of the first quarter. Nagy dominated the inside game, scoring nine points in the opening period. Senior Isabel Cintron hit a desperation three at the buzzer, and the game appeared to be headed to a blowout. However, the Comets quickly battled back early in the second quarter. They hit two three pointers in the opening minute of the period, cutting the lead to 19-10. They used full court pressure to disrupt the Rangers, who scored only five points in the second quarter. By halftime the lead had been cut to 24-17 in favor of Lakewood.
Amherst opened the third period with another three pointer, and the pace of the game quickened. The Comets chipped away, continuing to harass the Rangers with pressure. Amherst took the lead at 33-32 with 1:55 left in the third quarter, delighting their home crowd. Lakewood was able to restore a 40-36 lead by the end of the third quarter
and took the leacutting the margin to 40-36 at the end of the third quarter -- Cintron hit yet another long-distance three point heave at the buzzer. Lakewood opened the fourth quarter with six consecutive points by Nagy, who scored on three consecutive possessions. The Rangers rebuilt a 12 point lead with six minutes to go, and seemingly had put the game away. However, the Comets again battled back. They outscored Lakewood 16-2 to take a 52-50 lead with 32 seconds remaining in regulation. Nagy made a basket to tie the game with 22 seconds left, and the game went to overtime.
Junior Claire Hylton was the key player in overtime, scoring four points on consecutive baskets to put Lakewood ahead 58-54 with just over one minute left in overtime. The Rangers defense held, closing out a hard-fought 61-54 victory. After the game, Ranger coach Mike Harper said the team is "about where I thought it would be" at this point in the season. He said he was pleased with his team's defensive performance, but realizes that the offense needs to improve.
Lakewood is now 3-2 on the season, 2-1 in Southwestern Conference play. They return to action Wednesday at Berea-Midpark. Junior varsity is scheduled to tip off at 6pm, followed by the varsity game. The Rangers host their first home game in the new LHS gym on Saturday, December 16 against Olmsted Falls.
Mike Deneen has extensive experience covering sports and community stories for the Lakewood Observer. Mike has been a Senior Industry Analyst for the Freedonia Group in Cleveland, Ohio, since 1998. He has appeared on CNBC’s Closing Bell, NPR’s MarketPlace and has been quoted multiple times in The Wall Street Journal. He has made multiple guest appearances on ESPN Cleveland radio. Mike also writes for Inside Northwestern, a website that covers Northwestern Wildcat Athletics. You can reach him on Twitter at @MikeDeneen1