LELAND — Leland’s Olivia Lowe let a free throw attempt go and immediately yelled, “Off!”
“Somehow it makes its way in,” Lowe said.
It was that kind of night for Lowe, as the 5-foot-9 junior put up 24 points, 17 rebounds and six steals, even while battling some second-half foul trouble. Lowe and the Leland Comets avenged a January girls basketball loss to Onekama with a 52-34 home victory Tuesday.
Lowe ended up 8-for-8 from the free-throw stripe.
“We took it from them the first time that we played them; they took it from us on their home court,” Onekama head coach Tracy Bennett said. “We just have to come back together and work on our shots and work on our passes and we will be better because of this loss, for sure.”
The result drops the Portagers to 9-7 (4-7 Northwest Conference), while Leland improves to 11-5 overall gets above .500 in league play at 6-5.
Onekama beat Leland 49-48 in early January, jumping out to a 17-point lead before withstanding a Comets comeback.
The Portagers led this one 8-4 early on, as Kaylin Sam and Hanna Hughes each knocked down 3-pointers and Hughes scored five points in the first two minutes.
“Tonight we talked about how it was important to get out to a strong start and then Onekama ended up hitting four 3s in the first quarter tonight,” Comets head coach Ryan Knudsen said. “But after that we made a couple of defensive adjustments and the tide of the game really turned in our favor and I felt after that point we really played strong on both ends of the court.”
Leland ended the first half on a 27-6 run to lead 31-15 at the intermission.
The Portagers cut that deficit to 10 on an Ajah Fink three-point play early in the fourth quarter, but the Comets answered with a Maeve Sweeney 3-pointer to ignite a 9-0 run and take back control.
Fink, Hughes and Sophie Wisniski each scored eight points to lead Onekama, with Colleen McCarthy adding seven points and Sam three.
The Portagers just topped Lake Leelanau St. Mary on Monday, facing Leelanau County teams on back-to-back nights.
The Comets concentrated on stopping Wisniski and McCarthy, the Portagers’ imposing pair of interior players.
“They did a nice job with that,” Bennett said. “Sophie and Colleen are really great players, but they were closing them down. The first half, we just weren’t taking care of the ball. We were trying to force some passes that weren’t there.”
The 6-foot tall Wisniski had 20 points, 10 rebounds and 3 blocks in their first meeting. McCarthy, a 5-foot-11 forward, had seven points, four steals, four rebounds and two blocks before fouling out in the final minute Tuesday. The two combined for one point in the first half.
“We knew they’re both really, really good players,” Lowe said. “And they’re tall, so we were just trying to run our offense to see if we can get some switches and mismatches and kind of packing it in a little bit.”
Makenzy Sluiter added 13 points and three boards for the Comets, while Tatum Kareck contributed seven points, three assists and three steals. Sweeney pitched in seven points and nine boards.
“We don’t have any seniors on our team, so we still have a lot of room for improvement,” Knudsen said. “We have a handful of kids that even though they’re juniors, this is their third year on varsity. As we’re getting closer and closer to district time, this is when we want to start putting it all together. And we feel like we’re definitely moving in that direction.”
Leland travels Thursday to Grand Traverse Academy, looking to win its third straight. Onekama gets a week off before traveling next Tuesday to Buckley.