GIRLS BASKETBALL: Dragons atop conference
ADRIAN -- Sam Lynn, Karli Meyer and Erica Thier each said they were nervous.
With Adrian's girls' basketball team set to host Red Rock Central on Tuesday night for sole possession of first place in the Red Rock Conference, Meyer said her "stomach was doing summersaults." Thier was afraid of a "replay" from last season, and Lynn was anxious for "redemption."
Any nervousness the Dragons harbored Tuesday wasn't apparent in their play.
Meyer, Thier and Lynn combined to score 38 points, and Adrian remained undefeated with a 57-46 victory.
"I was really nervous; I'm not going to lie," Meyer said. "Before we came here, my stomach was doing summersaults.
"We were all freaking out, but we wanted to do well, so we had to throw (the nervousness) away."
The Dragons defeated RRC 75-55 earlier this season at the Tracy-Milroy-Balaton Holiday Tournament, but it didn't count as a conference game.
"It was kind of a replay from last year, because (RRC) kicked our butts in the holiday tournament and then we beat them (later in the season)," Thier said. "So we were kind of nervous that would happen, but we played our hardest."
Meyer scored the game's first basket, and Emily Neperman answered on RRC's ensuing possession with a short jumper for the first and only tie of the game. Meyer scored a basket a minute later, and Adrian never trailed again.
With 7:15 remaining in the first half, Lynn assisted on a 3-pointer by Thier. Moments later, she stole the ball near midcourt, was fouled while attempting a layup and hit 1 of 2 free throws to give Adrian its largest lead of the half, 23-12, with 7:01 remaining.
RRC battled back, cutting the deficit to eight going into the intermission before pulling to within four after Steph Maras' three-point play 2:15 into the second half.
But Lynn penetrated and again dished to Thier, who drilled a 3-pointer from the right corner, and Meyer scored four consecutive baskets for the Dragons, who capped a 19-4 run and took a 19-point lead -- their largest of the night --after a steal and layup by Lynn with 7:12 remaining.
The Dragons' run spanned 7:40, during which RRC went 2-for-14 from the field and committed four turnovers.
"We had great looks at the basket, but we had shots that did not go in that were point blank," RRC coach Jeff Shaner said. "Not very often are you going to come away dry on back-to-back layups and stuff like that."
The Falcons shot just 30 percent (18-for-60) from the field. Adrian shot 47 percent (24-for-51) from the field but was held to a season-low point total.
"We did some things defensively that took away some tempo and controlled some things they did," Shaner said. "... Their posts are tough; they rebound well, they make great moves to the basket and get offensive rebounds. Just the little things they do make it very, very difficult."
Meyer, a 5-foot-9 sophomore forward, finished with 17 points, 10 rebounds and five steals. She went 5-for-8 shooting and scored 10 points in the second half.
Thea Engen had 14 points and 12 rebounds to lead RRC. The 5-11 senior forward had 12 points at halftime but went just 1-for-5 from the field and scored two points in the final 18 minutes.
Krystle Sell had 10 points and seven assists, Neperman added 11 points, and Maras had seven points for the Falcons (11-3, 9-1), who will host Hills-Beaver Creek on Friday.
Thier finished with 11 points and five assists, and Lynn, who had a triple-double in Adrian's victory over RRC earlier this season, had 10 points, eight rebounds and five assists.
Mary Loosbrock, who went 4-for-4 from the field, and Katy Slater each scored eight points for the Dragons (15-0, 10-0), who bounced back from Monday night's scare against Westbrook-Walnut Grove, which missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer that would have sent the game into overtime.
"We were nervous, but we were excited to play because (Monday) night we didn't play that great," Lynn said. "So we wanted to redeem ourselves and get back to playing good basketball."
Adrian will host Round Lake-Brewster and take the court as the only undefeated and first-place team in the Red Rock Conference on Friday.
"We're excited -- really excited -- and happy," Meyer said. "But we know it's not the end of our season, so we're still working, obviously, but we're happy."
RRC 24 22 -- 46
Adrian 33 25 -- 57
RRC (3FG-2FG-FT-TP): Nickel 0-2-0-4, Sell 0-2-3-7, Maras 0-2-3-7, Engen 0-6-2-14, Neperman 1-4-0-11. Totals: 1-17-9-46.
ADRIAN (3FG-2FG-FT-TP): Altman 1-0-0-3, E. Thier 3-0-2-11, Lynn 1-3-1-10, Loosbrock 0-4-0-8, K. Slater 0-4-0-8, Meyer 0-8-1-17. Totals: 5-19-4-57.