Third quarters have been a sticking point for the Linganore girls basketball team this season.
The Lancers typically play well in the first half, and then things start to unravel.
But something was different about Tuesday night. Even juniors Linzee Morris and Gabby Krystofiak could feel it coming out of the locker room at halftime in what was a tie game.
“Urbana is our really big rival,” Morris said. “They can’t be coming onto our court and thinking they are going to beat us.”
With a noticeable pep in the players step, Linganore played a great second half. The ball movement was crisper. The shot selection was better. The defense was smarter and more aggressive, and the Lancers wound up pulling away for a 46-32 victory.
“Everyone contributed. Each little thing contributed to the win,” said Krystofiak, who scored eight of her 11 of her points in the second half.
After the teams volleyed the lead back and fourth, Linganore (7-4) started to take control near the end of the third quarter.
A basket by Morris ignited a 16-3 run that turned a one-point deficit into a 14-point lead for the Lancers that was the biggest of the game.
Morris finished with 14 points, and junior Darbe Reesman scored all 12 of her points in the second half for Linganore.
“We went in [to the locker room at halftime], and I told them, ‘We’ve got to pick it up. Somebody needs to light the fire. Who is going to make the decision to play better?’” Lancers coach Rachael Easterday said. “They all did.”
Urbana coach Joe Blaser felt most of the game was played at Linganore’s tempo, which factored into the outcome.
The Hawks (5-4) tried to speed up the game with their press, but the Lancers were never that fazed by it.
“Linganore does a great job of running halfcourt offense, and we struggled to defend that at times,” Blaser said.
Sophomore Carmen Kweti scored a game-high 15 points to lead the Hawks, while senior point guard Hannah Orens added 10.
“I was really proud of how we continued to attack the rim and fight on the backboards the whole game,” Blaser said.
Easterday felt the same way about her team.
When asked why her team doesn’t tend to play as well as the games progresses, she said, “I don’t know. I have been trying to figure it out since I started coaching.”
Everyone started communicating on the defensive end in the second half against Urbana, the Linganore players said, and that made a significant difference.
“We have really good team chemistry,” Krystofiak said. “That bonding and playing well together is starting to show on the court.”