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Bruins come back to top Lady Tigers

Jan. 12—LEBANON — For three and a half quarters, the Lebanon Lady Tigers were in a great position to get a quality Sagamore Conference win against Tri-West.

But the host Tigers couldn't hold the lead in the fourth quarter, and the Bruins came storming back to win 37-31.

"We just have to continue to work on finishing games and putting four quarters together," Lebanon head coach Candice Huckstep said. "We had around eight turnovers in the fourth quarter and we just have to focus on taking care of the ball and making smart decisions. We are working on it in practice but it's frustrating because we aren't seeing that carryover right now."

Huckstep said that coming into the game, she felt like Tri-West was a good match-up for her Tigers, and that showed for most of the game.

After leading by eight at the end of three quarters, and went up 10 on a basket from Marina Barr in the opening minutes of the fourth.

But the Tigers turned it over on seven of their next eight possessions, with Tri-West going on a 10-0 run to tie the game.

Two free throws from Emily Sperry stemmed the tide a little, but the Bruins extended the run to 17-2 and finished the game from there.

"We tried to stay as positive as we could in the locker room, and for the most part we executed our defensive game plan," Huckstep said. "We have a quick turnaround, playing tomorrow afternoon, but the big thing for us is focusing on putting four quarters together and valuing our possessions. We know we can do it, we just have to show it."

Through three quarters, the Tigers controlled the game with their defense.

The Bruins led 3-2 at the end of the first quarter, and the game was tied 10-10 at the half.

Lebanon led by as many as 12 in the third quarter, holding the Bruins to 17 points in the first 24 minutes.

"I think our press was really effective," Huckstep said. "We were trying to slow them down, not necessarily getting traps and steals, but just making sure we kept them in front of us. We mixed up some of our defenses in the half court and did a great job of communicating."

Leila Richards led the Tigers with 15 points, with Emily Sperry scoring seven with 11 rebounds.

"Leila has been playing well lately," Huckstep said. "She's been doing a great job in practice of knocking down those shots and it is carrying over. It's nice to see her coming into her own as the sectional is coming up. All of our girls have the green light, and we told them they just have to be willing to shoot and continue to focus on our inside-outside game."

Lebanon is back in action against Guerin Catholic on Saturday, and have just four games left in the regular season.

"I feel like we are doing some really good things," Huckstep said. "We are going to continue to get a lot of shots up, working on our passes and hopefully it all clicks come the sectional."

Will Willems is the Sports Editor of the Lebanon Reporter. Follow him on Twitter @Will_Willems.