HOLCOMBE — The last few weeks have not been kind to the Lake Holcombe girls basketball team.
The Chieftains have battled injuries and tough competition but ended a three-game losing streak Friday with a 57-33 win at Cornell.
Brooke Lechleitner led all scorers with 20 points for Lake Holcombe (6-4, 4-1) while Emma Lechleitner added 13 points and Justine Kane scored 11 points.
After opening the season 5-1 the Chieftains lost their next three games against Shell Lake, Gilman and East Lakeland leading Prairie Farm. Lake Holcombe dealt with injuries in those games as an already small roster of nine players played shorthanded but got one of those players back this week with the return of Kane.
Cornell scored the first basket of the game, but Lake Holcombe took the lead on a three by Kane less than two minutes into the game and put some distance on the Chiefs in the later half of the first half with a 13-3 run to help take a 28-14 halftime lead. The Chiefs (1-11, 0-5) came out to start the second half strong and looked to close the game within single digits, but another Chieftains run put distance between the squads en route to the Lake Holcombe win.
Abby Jones added seven points off the bench for the Chieftains as coach Jennifer Lechleitner said the team's balanced scoring and building buffer helped the team gain confidence on the way to the team's sixth win of the year.
“It builds confidence. I think the girls when we start getting tight they get more nervous," coach Lechleitner said. "We have a little buffer and they all start to relax and we can play.”
Kelsea Popp led Cornell with 15 points as coach Courtney Yanko said she was proud of how the team played early, limiting the Division I Central Connecticut State recruit Brooke Lechleitner to six points in the first half before the Chieftains pulled away.
“I preach to the girls day in and day out you can’t make shots that you don’t take so I encourage them to take shots even if they aren’t falling (and) for them to keep shooting no matter what," Yanko said.
Lauren Samardzich and Bralee Schroeder each added six points for a young Cornell team with just one junior (Popp) and one senior (Teaira Spaeth). The Chiefs host Bruce on Tuesday before starting the second half of the conference schedule next Friday at Flambeau.
“I think the most important thing for us is we continue to see growth," Yanko said. "We're not seeing the wins right now but that’ll come with time. We’re so young, we’re so freshmen and sophomore strong with one senior and one junior so the fact that we continue to see growth on offense and defense is the most important thing.”
Friday's win keeps the Chieftains one back of Prairie Farm in the loss column in the East Lakeland standings. Lake Holcombe hosts Clayton on Tuesday and coach Lechleitner said the team will need to clean up turnovers and be better from the free throw line — the Chieftains were 13-for-25 in victory — as it looks to stack up wins in the second half of the season.
Photos: Cornell girls basketball hosts rival Lake Holcombe 1-14-22
McDonell junior Canan Huss has made an impact in his first season with the boys basketball team, averaging 16 points per game including a game-winning 3-pointer in Friday's overtime win at Eau Claire Regis.
David Hughes pinned his way to a championship at 126 pounds on Saturday for the Chi-Hi wrestling team at the program's home invitational. Chi-Hi's Connor Bruhn and Stanley-Boyd's Breckin Burzynski and Troy Trevino each finished second in their respective classes.
The Lake Holcombe boys basketball team outscored Cornell by a 37-29 margin in the second half to pick up a 63-54 East Lakeland Conference victory on Friday evening. Dylan Bowen led the Chieftains with 22 points including six of his team's 3-pointers while Sam Ewer scored a season-high 16 points and Colton Minnick chipped in with 12.
The McDonell girls basketball team stayed on the heels of unbeaten Osseo-Fairchild in the Western Cloverbelt title race by earning a 51-36 win over Cadott in a battle of second-place teams Tuesday evening at McDonell. Lauryn Deetz led all scorers with 23 points for the Macks