MILLBURY - Lake guard Kaysie Brittenham took matters into her own hands in a Suburban Lakes League showdown with league-leader Genoa last night.
Brittenham scored her team's first 17 points. The dynamic 5-foot-9 junior tallied 12 in the pivotal second quarter in which Lake outscored Genoa 17-5 to seize a 26-13 lead at the half.
In front of a rowdy crowd and packed house on their home court, the Flyers flew past Genoa 51-40. Lake remained undefeated overall (10-0) and in the SLL (5-0). The Comets (10-2) dropped their first league game and are 5-1.
At one point, Brittenham led Genoa 17-9 by herself.
"That helped boost our confidence and got us going," Brittenham said. "It gave us a spark to start things off."
Brittenham finished with a game-high 26 points, six rebounds and eight steals.
A spirited Lake student section also enjoyed their team's smothering defense as the Flyers forced 27 turnovers.
With Lake up 9-8 to start the second quarter, Brittenham outscored the Comets 8-1 over the first 2:19. She had two offensive putbacks to make it 13-8. Brittenham then came up with a steal that led to her lay-up and a six-point lead. After Brittenham nailed two free throws for her 17 points, Jessica Abbey drilled a 3-pointer for a 20-9 Lake lead.
"Kaysie was unbelievable tonight," Lake coach Denny Meyer said. "Her defense made her offense happen tonight. A lot of her points came off her getting tips and steals. If she does that she is pretty much unstoppable. She has long arms and she attacks the basket."
At the half, Brittenham had 21 points, three offensive rebounds, and five steals.
"Our team is so unselfish. They don't care who scores," Meyer said. "In the locker room they were all giving her high fives."
Lake's Jessica Abbey and Kayla Reilly scored seven points apiece.
Genoa junior Bailee Adams scored 10 of her team-high 12 points in the fourth quarter. Adams also led the Comets with six rebounds. Overall, Genoa out rebounded Lake 18-13. Lake held Jessica Feller, the league's second leading scorer (13.6 ppg.) to six points. Genoa coach Tom Kontak blamed himself for the loss.
"Our kids played as hard as I've seen them play," Kontak said. "The scheme that I set up did not set them up for the best success. This one falls on the coach's shoulders."
He said he wanted his players to get in the passing lanes. "They went back door on us and we kind of played into that," Kontak said.
Genoa never led but tied it at 6 late in the first quarter. But on Brittenham's sixth steal off Lake's Carly Huston scored on a putback to make it 22-9.
"I came out pretty excited about this game," Brittenham said. "It's big for us. I got some steals that helped me out on offense. And we went from there. It should get us going for the rest of the season. These games you like to play in."
Back-to-back drives to the bucket by Brittenham, who leads the SLL in scoring (16.0), then gave the Flyers a 26-11 cushion.
"Kaysie Brittenham is one of the fine players in northwest Ohio," Kontak said. "She is a finisher and she is tough as nails."
Lake took its biggest lead, 41-24, with 5:28 left and never looked back.
The teams meet again in the league finale on Feb. 18. Lake, which won the first SLL title in school history last year, has played every team except Gibsonburg.
"It's big because it gives us a one-game lead going into the second half of the season," Meyer said.
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