Lady Eagles able to hang onto win over Lady Falcons

WARDSVILLE — When you’re on a winning streak, it’s sometimes tough to keep it going.

Eugene struggled while trying to close out the Blair Oaks Lady Falcons, who kept hanging around. But in the end, the Lady Eagles were able to hit some free throws to hold on for a 51-46 win Thursday.

“We’ve had some close games like that,” Eugene coach Jason White said. “We started off the season on a high note, winning our own tournament. Then, we went through a lull.

“About three weeks ago, we decided we were going to re-focus.”

Eugene (16-6) took control of the game in the second quarter, holding Blair Oaks to two points while taking a 27-12 lead into the half.

Blair Oaks (11-7) had plenty of looks at the basket, but nothing fell, as the Lady Falcons hit just 5-of-24 from the field and were held scoreless after opening the quarter with a bucket.

“A lot of it is the frustration on the offensive end,” Blair Oaks coach Leroy Bernskoetter said. “It’s our Achilles’ heel. If the shots aren’t falling, we don’t know how to be patient.

“The shots were there. We just didn’t get into any type of rhythm offensively.”

Denise Lepper hurt the Lady Falcons in the second quarter, hitting back-to-back 3s right before the half to give Eugene a comfortable 15-point lead. Lepper finished with 20 points.

But that comfortable lead became a nail-biter real quick.

Blair Oaks opened the second half on a 12-0 run to cut Eugene’s lead to three.

“Those are the things that are frustrating,” White said. “We came out of the locker room a little flat. But the girls did an excellent job of recovering from it.”

That recovery job was sparked by Lepper’s layup that sent the Lady Eagles on an 8-0 run to finish off the third quarter and take a 38-24 lead into the fourth.

“We let them go on an 8-0 run,” Bernskoetter said. “That killed us.”

The Lady Falcons had enough energy for a second offensive burst in the fourth quarter.

Down by 12 early in the period, LeeAnn Polowy sparked the run, a 12-5 spurt that cut Eugene’s lead to 47-42. Polowy scored 14 of her game-high 21 points in the fourth quarter.

The Lady Falcons forced four turnovers in the fourth quarter to help them get back in the game.

“Blair Oaks plays one of the better defenses we see all season long,” White said. “They get after you.”

But Eugene had time on their side, as the Lady Eagles were able to hit enough free throws down the stretch to hold on for the win.

“We faltered a little bit, but we made up for it,” White said.

Miranda White scored 17 points for Eugene, hitting 10-of-15 from the free-throw line.

Eugene travels Monday to Versailles.

The Lady Falcons will try to bounce back tonight at home against Warsaw. They’ll host California on Monday and St. Elizabeth on Tuesday.

“We’re going to see what we’re made of,” Bernksoetter said.

In the JV game, Nicole Lueckenhoff scored five points as Blair Oaks (14-2) won the two-quarter game 20-17.

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