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Wayne Post
  • Team effort lifts Gananda over rival Lions in girls basketball

  • In what seems to have become a yearly tradition in Wayne County League girls basketball action, the visiting Gananda Blue Panthers downed the Lyons Lions quite handily Tuesday evening by the score of 53-38. The win looked a lot like last year’s lopsided contest as the Panthers won in Lyons almost identically, 53-39. Both teams have defeated the other on their home courts the last two years.

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  • In what seems to have become a yearly tradition in Wayne County League girls basketball action, the visiting Gananda Blue Panthers downed the Lyons Lions quite handily Tuesday evening by the score of 53-38. The win looked a lot like last year’s lopsided contest as the Panthers won in Lyons almost identically, 53-39. Both teams have defeated the other on their home courts the last two years.
     
    Back on Dec. 7, the Lions (9-2, 9-1) beat Gananda (10-2, 9-1) on their home court 43-42. On Dec. 9, 2011, Lyons pulled off another one-point win on the road, 49-48. Last year the two teams shared the league title with one loss a piece.
     
    With the victory, Gananda evened the score and the two teams are deadlocked for first place with 9-1 records.
     
    Gananda, playing without Darci MacFall who has missed the last couple games due to an ankle injury, got big performances Jen Stearns, Jess Donnan, Michelle Suchan and Lindsay Mason.
     
    “We always know Lyons is going to be a big game for us,” said Mason, a senior for the Blue Panthers. “They are always aggressive, they are always hitting their shots, they’re always on their game. Two key things we worked on was boxing out and talking on defense. I think we played our hardest and I think it showed.”  
    After tying the game at 4-4, the Lions fell behind 7-4 as Stearns, a junior, netted three of her game-high 19 points with 4:20 to play in the first quarter. But Lyons didn’t give up as they tied the game at 7-7 after Hannah Lester made the first of two fouls shots and Gator Shields canned a jumper from the foul line. Lyons then went up 10-7 as Shields scored five of her team-high 14 points in the first period. The Panthers defense held the Lions scoreless the last 2:36 of the first quarter, running off eight unanswered points capped off by a two-point buzzer shot by Jess Donnan to give the Panthers a 15-10 lead to end the first period.
     
    With momentum on their side the Panthers didn’t waste time in the second quarter as they continued their stellar defense. Lyons was held scoreless for almost five minutes as Gananda built up a 26-10 lead. With 3:12 in the first half Shields ended the scoring drought as she dropped a bucket just inside the foul line. Lyons’ Ryenn Smith scored a bucket and Taylor DiSanto dropped in one of her two 3-pointers on the night as Lyons tried to close the gap, making it 30-19 at the half.
    In the third quarter the Lions managed to cut the deficit to single digits (31-23). But the Panthers went on to take a 41-29 lead to end the third, powered by Stearns’ six points in the frame.
    Page 2 of 2 - The fourth quarter did not get any better for Lyons as turnovers (19 on the night) continued to plague their comeback attempt.
    Gananda coach Tony Morabito was impressed by the grunt-work done by Mason, who stepped up with a strong performance in place of MacFall.
    “Lindsay Mason just kind of came in and filled Darci,” Morabito said. “ I can’t say enough about her. She’s probably all of 5-foot-5, playing that forward position and she’s just tough.”
    “Our defense, I can’t say enough about our defense. If there is one thing we do well, it’s play defense. Offensively, our defense makes our offense.”
    The biggest concern for Gananda was slowing down Shields — Lyons’ rebounding machine. Shields went on to pull down 19 rebounds, block eight shots and grab seven steals.
    “We had to box out,” Morabito said. “We’ve got to know where she is (Shields) and she’s going to crash the boards hard. If you don’t have a body on her she’s going to jump in and she’s going to get the rebound off you. And I think we did a pretty good job on her. I think we frustrated her a little bit tonight.”
     
    Gananda was paced on the night by Jess (19 points, 11 rebounds and six steals), while teammates Michelle Suchan and Jess Donnan each added 10 points each.
    “I give Tony and his kids a lot of credit,” Lyons coach Eric Kuhn said. “They out-played us, out-coached, out-everything-ed us. It was definitely a good performance from Gananda and looking at the stat sheet that says enough. Nineteen turnovers doesn’t usually pull out a W.”
     
    Taylor DiSanto netted a pair of 3-pointers for Lyons and Smith finished with 10 points and seven rebounds.

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