Stealing the ball

Eastside’s Sullivan Kessler is fouled after stealing the ball from a Leo player in first-half action at Butler Tuesday. The Blazers won 52-29.

BUTLER — Four players combined for 41 points as Eastside’s girls basketball team cruised to a 52-29 win over Leo at Butler Tuesday.

MacKensie Rieke led all scorers with 15 points. Allyson King netted 11 points. Sullivan Kessler scored eight and Skyelar Kessler added seven.

The Blazers improved to 4-0 on the season.

While offense wins games, first-year Eastside coach Mike Lortie liked his team’s defensive effort against Leo.

“I thought we did a really nice job defensively, taking away what they want to run,” he said. “We took away their ball-screen action early, they really struggled, and it converted into offense (for us).

“I thought our offense was pretty good and we moved the ball pretty well. If you get a couple of shots to fall, then everything starts coming together,” Lortie continued. “Then, you can start picking them up harder on defense.”

King and Rieke scored six each in the first, giving the hosts a 14-5 lead after eight minutes.

Eastside’s defense forced six Leo turnovers in the second quarter, and two steals by Sullivan Kessler pushed the home team’s advantage to 26-9 by the break.

The Blazers didn’t take the foot off the gas in the third.

Rieke hit a trio of threes in the quarter, and a rebound score by King made it 34-9 Blazers with 5 minutes, 10 seconds left.

Leo didn’t register its first point until a free throw by Leah May with 4:14 remained in the third. At that juncture, May had scored eight of her team’s 10 points.

A bucket by sophomore Katharine Scrogham and a three from senior Bethany Pepple got the Lions to 38-15.

Rieke’s third three of the quarter, a rebound basket by Taylor Richards and an inside score by Haleigh Liberty extended Eastside’s advantage to 30 late in the quarter.

Leo outscored Eastside 8-5 in the final quarter.

May led the Lions (1-4) with 13 points.

Eastside opens Northeast Corner Conference play against Angola Friday.

While the Blazers are unbeaten, there are things to work on.

“(We need to be) a little stronger with the basketball and ball-handling,” Lortie said. “That’s not just dribbling, it’s catching, passing, facing up and being strong with it.

“Angola’s coming to come and get us Friday and we know that. If we’re going to compete with the Angolas, the Lakelands and others in our conference, we have to make sure we take care of the basketball.”

Eastside JV 28, Leo 16

Leading 11-7 after the first, Eastside held Leo without a point in the second and led 19-7 at the break.

Cadence Gardner and Grace Kreischer had six points each for the reserve Blazers. Ana Marco Elguea had four points for Leo.

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