By MIKE ECKERT firstname.lastname@example.org
Traverse City Record-Eagle
---- — TRAVERSE CITY — Less than 30 seconds into the start of Wednesday's Class C district semifinal, Liza Erickson buried a 3-pointer.
About 30 seconds later, she hit another one. It set the tone for what turned out to be a memorable night for the St. Francis senior
Erickson got the Gladiators off to a hot start in a 48-28 win over Glen Lake, and she surpassed 1,000 points for her career.
St. Francis (20-2) moves on to host Elk Rapids at 7 p.m. Friday for the district title. The Elks advanced with a 49-41 win over Boyne City in Wednesday's first semifinal.
Erickson entered the game needing 18 points to surpass 1,000 for her career. She finished with with 23 point and broke the 1,000-point barrier in the third quarter with a 3-pointer.
"I had no idea," Erickson said. "My dad brought in a sign and I was like, 'What are you doing?' But to tell you the truth, I don't think it mattered. I wouldn't have wanted that in my head."
Instead of thinking about the 1,000 points, Erickson was focused on winning the game. That was clear from the start with the two 3-pointers in the opening 90 seconds.
"I told myself the minute I woke up that I was going to have to take control of this game," Erickson said. "It was going to be our game. So when I got the chance, I shot it, and they went in. That really did give us momentum."
St. Francis led 17-5 at the end of the first quarter.
"The girls played outstanding," Gladiators coach Mike Knudsen said. "They had a lot of pressure right off the bat, which didn't allow them to get into their offense. Glen Lake's got a really nice team and Scotlyn (Brengman) is a great player. Our girls played excellent today and we were very fortunate to win."
The Gladiators beat Glen Lake 43-36 in the second game of the regular season, but came out with an even more intense defense for the second meeting.
"They came right out with in-your-face pressure and it took us off setting something up," Lakers coach Jason Bradford said. "It came down to defense. They were a little more intense this time. They came out with traps up top and they knew who to key in on. That made a big difference."
It was 28-12 Glads at the half and 48-18 after three quarters.
Foul trouble plagued Glen Lake, as two players went into the half with three fouls and another with four. Two players fouled out before the end of the game.
"It takes them out of the game, because they're hesitant," Bradford said. "Then that slows your offense up."
Scotlyn Brengman finished her high school career with the Lakers with 10 points, five rebounds and two steals. Jordan Peplinski also had 10 points and 11 rebounds.
Bridget Bussell had six points and 15 rebounds for St. Francis while Kaitlyn Feeney added six points.
In the opening game, Elk Rapids extended a 20-16 halftime lead to 30-20 after three quarters for the 49-41 final.
Boyne City closed within five points midway through the third quarter, but the Elks came back with a put-back from Celsey Waite and a Michelle Costa basket from Megan Moss to make it a 42-33 lead.
Paige Granger scored 19 points for Elk Rapids, while Waite and Costa each had nine points. Mary Myers had 10 points for the Ramblers.
The district title will be the third meeting of the year between the Elks and the Glads. St. Francis won 51-41 and 54-36 in Lake Michigan Conference play.
"They played us tough both games," Knudsen said. "They're a very big team. We're going to ask our girls to play great defense again, and hopefully we can come out on top."