KENDALLVILLE — The Lakeland girls might be turning a corner after their 67-33 defeat of East Noble on Tuesday night.
The Lakers (3-6, 0-2 NECC) have scored 60-plus points in back-to-back games. They defeated Leo 63-35 on Saturday and are close to being back to full strength.
Lakeland has been without Isabelle Larimer for the whole season, and she might come back before the end of the year. Nicolette Brashear and Keirstin Roose have missed the last handful of games and hope to be back within the next two weeks. All of the injuries have forced younger players to step up and some others to play out of position.
“They’re starting to adjust. It took a few more games than we would’ve liked,” Lakeland coach Dan Huizenga said.
The win over the Lions snapped a six-game losing streak.
Against the Knights (2-5), the Lakers were able to battle through some early foul trouble and quickly put the game out of reach.
Lakeland had four scorers in double figures led by Bailey Hartsough, who ended up with a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds. Peyton Hartsough scored 12, and Faith Riehl and Beth Stroop each added 11.
“I told the kids that’s the closest we’ve come to playing 32 minutes in a long, long time,” Huizenga said. “And we needed it.”
The Lakers opened the game with a 10-1 run that included back-to-back baskets by Sadie Edsall and Bailey Hartsough, both came off East Noble turnovers.
The Knights finished with 23 turnovers compared to 16 by Lakeland.
East Noble’s first field goal of the game came with two minutes left in the first quarter on a score from Karly Kirkpatrick.
Lakeland’s lead ballooned up to 12 points early in the second quarter with two transition buckets from Peyton and Bailey Hartsough.
The Knights tried to put pressure on the Lakers, but the visitors were able to get through the press multiple times for easy baskets.
Lakeland led 29-14 at halftime, and the margin quickly grew in the first few minutes of the third quarter. The Lakers opened the period with a 9-0 run and never looked back.
East Noble was 11-for-37 (30 percent) from the field and 10-of-19 (53 percent) from the free-throw line. Lakeland hit 26-of-60 (43 percent) from the floor and 8-for-12 at the line. The Lakers caught fire from distance in the second half, going 6-for-11.
Grace Patton led the Knights with nine points and eight rebounds. Ella Lewin dropped in seven, and Avan Beiswanger scored six.
Lakeland travels to Fremont Saturday while East Noble hosts New Haven for its Northeast 8 Conference opener.