Bald Eagles open conference play with a win

LOCK HAVEN — After a very successful pre-conference season, the Lock Haven women’s basketball (5-1, 1-0) stepped into conference play with a big 74-72 win over Clarion Saturday afternoon at Thomas Field House.

“Today wasn’t our best performance of the season so far,” said Lock Haven coach Jennifer Smith. “We had to keep battling to pick up our first conference win and that is really important for us. We could have folded, but we didn’t. I think shows the fight and character of the team this year.”

As is the case every year, there’s always some new kids on the block and Smith likes what she sees from her newcomers.

“I really like all of our new kids this year,” said Smith. “They all bring something different to the table for us and they want to win which gives us a pretty solid roster from top to bottom.”

Unlike a few of the most recent seasons when the Bald Eagles sometimes struggled to get balanced scoring, they finished with four players with double-digit totals in the win.

Taylor Leidy led the way with 15 points, while Jalyn-Shelton Burleigh was a digit behind with 14 points. Rileigh Devine and Bink Redman completed the quartet of double-digit scorers with respective totals of 12 and 10 points.

“We are balanced with the pace we are playing this year,” said Smith. “We are going to be able to give people different looks and I think that on a good night for us you will see five people in double figures. We didn’t score as many points as we would have liked to but we are going to have those days where we aren’t going to get to a hundred.”

For Clarion, Kadijah Dickson led all scorers in the game with 26 points.

The two teams took turns exchanging 5-0 runs in a fast-pace first period until Clarion held a 14-13 lead at the first turn.

The two teams played the game to a 2-3 range until Clarion took advantage of some sloppy play by LHU to put together a 14-6 run and gain some separation at 28-19 with 4:00 left in the first half.

However, showing some resiliency, the Bald Eagles answered the call with a 7-2 run of their own before Clarion scored the final three points of the second period to take a 35-29 lead to the locker room at halftime.

Coming out of the break with a lot of energy, the Bald Eagles structured a 9-0 run to take a 44-37 lead with four minutes left in the third period before Clarion went on a scoring rampage to tie the game once again, this time at 50-all as the two teams took the turn for home.

The two teams battled each other through four ties and five lead changes in the final period until the Bald Eagles set the final on free throws by Burleigh and Devine.

Turnovers have been a big thorn in the side of LHU in previous years.

“We haven’t had a turnover issue this year,” Smith said. “Turnovers haven’t been an issue for us this year and hopefully they won’t become one. The addition of Taylor (Leidy) has really helped in that aspect of the game. She is just so composed at the point guard position and her composure has helped Bink (Redman) to be a little more composed.”

The Bald Eagles will not have a lot of time to savor their win as this afternoon they will be right back on the Thomas Field House to face Mercyhurst.

Lock Haven 74, Clarion 72

CLARION (5-2, 0-1 PSAC)

Kadijah Dickson 11-19 4-4 26, Taylor Moltz 5-10 3-5 15, Jordan Bekelja 4-7 2-2 10, Yasmin Lewis 4-7 0-2 8, Haille Hart 2-6 0-2 4, Emily Hegedus 2-3 3-3 7, Neely Whitehead 1-3 2, Imani Dockery 0-1 0-2 0. Totals 29-56 12-20 72.

LOCK HAVEN (5-1, 1-0 PSAC)

Taylor Leidy 5-8 3-4 15, Jalyn Shelton-Burleigh 5-8 2-2 14, Rileigh Devine 3-10 4-5 12, Bink Redman 3-7 4-6 10, Ahnera Parker 4-11 0-0 9, Nadia Romanchock 3-4 0-0 7, Tiana Garvin 2-2 0-0 5, Kendra Stanford 1-3 0-0 2, Ayanda Jefferson-McGill 0-1 0-0 0, Jordyn Kloster 0-4 0-0 0. Totals 26-58 13-17 74.

Clarion 14 21 15 22–72

LHU 13 16 21 24–74

3-point goals: Clarion 22-5 (Moltz 2-4, Bekelja 0-1); Lock Haven 9-19 (Leidy 2-4, Shelton 2-3, Devine 2-7, Parker 1-2, Romanchock 1-1, Garvin 1-1, Stanford 0-1). Fouled out: Clarion-none. Lock Haven-none. Rebounds: Clarion 31 (Dickson 7), Lock Haven 34 (Redman 8). Assists: Clarion 5 (Moltz 2), Lock Haven 11 (Leidy 6). Total fouls: Clarion 14, Lock Haven 17.