By Rob Everingham
It was a battle, but the Lewis-Clark State Warriors had enough to down the MSU-Northern Skylights 80-67 in Frontier Conference action Thursday night.
The game was close early, and the Skylights pulled ahead with 12:31 left in the first quarter to lead 17-12. L-C fought their way back into the game and took a 22-17 lead after a 10-0 run.
The Skylights responded with a run of their own. It was capped off by an Abby Hjorth shot to give Northern a 26-22 lead.
The game stayed close from there with six lead changes. The Skylights held on to a slim one-point lead at 42-41 at the half, as Hjorth hit a jumper as time expired.
The Warriors came out firing in the second, and went on a 17-2 run to take a 61-54 lead. The Skylights were able to fight back and cut the Lewis-Clark lead down to eight, 68-60, with 5:52 left in the game off a Kristine Noel shot. Northern could not muster enough offense to get back into the game against the nation's fourth-ranked team.
The Skylights were led by Laura Munson, who finished with a game-high 25 points. Also in double figures for Northern were Hjorth with 17 and Noel with 16.
L-C was led by Brianne Kottwitz, who had 22. Charlotte Norman finished with 14, Alyssa Erickson had 13, and Shannon Russel had 12.
The Skylights shot just 1-for-12 from the 3-point line, while the Warriors were 10-for-23.
Northern head coach Ray Peters said his team gave up some offensive boards and shot only 33 percent in the second half. Peters said they had the looks, but could not knock down the shots.
"Against a team like that, you lose ground if you don't make the shots," Peters said.
Peters knew his team had a shot if they could keep it close because the Warriors have not played in many close games this year. But, L-C was able to put points on the board and the Skylights continued to miss.
Peters said the Warriors went with their big lineup and a wide zone and the Skylights just did not finish their plays on the offensive end of the floor.
Peters said his team did fine with the ball in the full court, but would lose it off of penetration.
"We just didn't handle their help," Peters said.
Peters said Munson played tough and looked good, but, he said, she should be hitting more of her free throws. Munson was just 7-for-15 from the charity stripe.
The Skylights head to Butte for a battle with Montana Tech on Saturday night. Peters said Tech is a much better team than last year and can shoot the ball much better.
"They are a more complete team," Peters said.
The Orediggers are also a legitimate threat from the 3-point line.
Peters said his team will have to play good defense and not let the loss to Lewis-Clark get them down.
"I'm not discouraged by tonight," Peters said.
Lewis-Clark Brianne Kottwitz 9-16 0-1 22; Katarina Gabaniova 1-4 1-2 3; Charlotte Norman 6-10 2-2 14; Lora Jolley 2-4 1-2 7; Alyssa Erickson 5-9 2-3 13; Shannon Russel 4-10 1-2 12; Sara McFachern 1-2 0-0 2; Brooke Cushman 2-5 3-6 7. Totals: 30-60 10-18 80.
MSU-N Krstine Noel 5-10 6-8 16; Anna Fabatz 0-5 4-4 4; Abby Hjorth 6-8 4-5 17; Jana Smith 1-7 0-0 2; Jennifer Young 0-1 0-0 0; Laura Munson 9-15 7-15 25; Brianne Dunn 0-1 0-1 0; Kelsy Burgmaier 1-4 1-3 3; Lyn Kansteiner 0-1 0-0 0; Totals: 22-52 22-37 67.
Halftime Northern 42, Lewis-Clark 41. Three-pointers: Lewis-Clark 10-23 (Kottwitz 4-7, Jolley 2-4, Erickson 1-3, Russel 3-9); Northern 1-12 (Noel 0-2, Fabatz 0-4, Hjorth 1-2, Smith 0-1, Young 0-1, Burgmaier 1-3). Rebounds: Lewis-Clark 37 (Norman 13); Northern 34 (Munson 8); Assists: Lewis-Clark 16 (Erickson 5); Northern 7 (Hjorth 3); Steals: Lewis-Clark 12 (Kottwitz 9); Northern 10 (Noel 2, Fabatz 2, Hjorth 2); Turnovers: Lewis-Clark 23, Northern 21. Total fouls: Lewis-Clark 25 (Fouled out: Erickson); Northern 19 (Fouled out: Dunn); Technical foul: Lewis-Clark bench. A 500.