HOLCOMBE — Even as the Lake Holcombe girls basketball team had to play for much of the first half without its leading scorer, the Chieftains hung around.
Early in the second half they trimmed a nine-point deficit to seven but soon a monster run by Bruce would put the game out of reach for the Chieftains in a 64-46 East Lakeland Conference defeat on Tuesday evening.
Bruce (5-8, 3-2) embarked on a 22-2 run in the second half to turn a 38-29 lead into a 60-31 advantage, ended any hope of a Lake Holcombe comeback. The Red Raiders ran quickly in transition, turning many defensive rebounds into baskets on the other end. Brandi Gauthier led all scorers with 26 points for the Red Raiders, many coming quickly as the 6-foot junior simply outraced Chieftain defenders down the floor for buckets.
“I just want the girls to play hard and it’ll go where it goes,” Lake Holcombe coach Aaron Frafjord said. “I think if we start hitting free throws and layups we’ll be alright. We give a pretty dang good effort at times and there’s times where we lack effort. We’re getting a heck of a lot better. I’m proud of them.”
Tuesday’s game started on a rough note for the Chieftains (4-6, 3-2), who were held off the scoreboard for the first 6:37 as Bruce raced out to an 11-0 lead. Lake Holcombe cut into the lead as a three-point play from Allison Golat-Hattamer, followed by a bucket from Kaylee Winchel and free throw by Golat-Hattamer trimmed the lead to seven at 13-6. But soon after, Lake Holcombe leading scorer Carley Yeager picked up her second foul and went to the bench. But even as Yeager, who entered the game averaging 15 points per game, was off the floor, the Chieftains continued to nibble into the Red Raider lead.
Lake Holcombe got to within one at 16-15 after a basket from Golat-Hattamer off an offensive rebound and kept the game within three a bit later in the half after baskets from Golat-Hattamer and Orianna Lebal. Six straight Bruce points in the final 1:02 game the Red Raiders a 28-19 lead at the break.
Early in the second half, a pair of baskets from Emma Elmberg and one from Lebal brought the Chieftains to a 32-25 deficit. But that would be as close as they’d get as Bruce netted 27 of the game’s next 33 points to take firm control of the contest.
She’s a freshman
Golat-Hattamer led the Chieftains with 18 points including an 8 of 13 effort from the free throw line. The 5-foot-8 freshman Golat-Hattamer has emerged as a consistent second scorer for Lake Holcombe in her first year of high school basketball.
Part of that has come from necessity as the team’s second leading scorer Megan Lechleitner tore her ACL during a game against Flambeau last month and is out for the season. Golat-Hattamer is averaging 7.9 points per game this season, but has scored 14.4 points per contest in her last five games since Lechleitner has been out of the lineup.
Golat-Hattamer also worked her way into the lineup during the fall as a part of the Lake Holcombe conference-winning volleyball team and while Frafjord said her skills are still developing, her athletic ability has made her an immediate force on the floor.
“Allison is a real athletic girl,” Frafjord said. “She’s really green basketball wise. She’s learning the varsity game. She goes for some steals when she shouldn’t go for the steal. These girls are bigger, faster and stronger. She’s learning the game.”
Yeager added 12 points and Lebal scored six for the Chieftains.
Fight for second
Following Tuesday’s result, four teams currently sit tied for second place in the East Lakeland behind unbeaten Flambeau — Cornell, New Auburn, Bruce and Lake Holcombe.
Lake Holcombe returns to action on Thursday at home in nonconference action against Unity before playing at Gilman on Monday and concluding the first round of conference games by playing at New Auburn on Tuesday, Jan. 16.
“It could be anybody on any given night,” Frafjord said of the battle for second place.