Falcons victorious with defense, late free throws

Photo by Steve Schauer
Photo by Steve Schauer

SHEBOYGAN, Wis. – They say defense wins championships, but in order to accomplish that goal teams must win key regular season games along the way. Concordia Wisconsin did just that on Wednesday night with a 55-52 victory at Lakeland after receiving a pair of blocks in the final two minutes and key free throws by Samantha Blissett with five seconds to play.

THE BASICS
Final Score:
Concordia Wisconsin 55, Lakeland 52
Location: Woltzen Gymnasium (Sheboygan, Wis.)
Records: Concordia Wisconsin 16-4, 13-2 NACC; Lakeland 13-7, 11-4 NACC

HOW IT HAPPENED
- Brianna Wagner didn't shoot the ball well, but her all-important rejection with 23 seconds to play sent a message of toughness. Concordia Wisconsin missed a pair of free throws on the other end of the court, but it didn't matter because Blissett had ice in her veins and calmly drained a pair of free throws with five seconds remaining.
- Lakeland had to go the length of the court and was unable to get a quality look at a game-tying 3-point attempt before the horn sounded.
- The game was important for both teams, but more so for Concordia Wisconsin who remains in second place in the NACC standings and a game behind conference-leading Wisconsin Lutheran with five league games to play.
- The Muskies made a game of it by going on a 13-4 scoring run during the first six minutes and 13 seconds of the fourth quarter to turn a seven-point deficit into a two-point lead. Concordia Wisconsin's Baylee Barker drained a 3-pointer on the ensuing possession and Audrey Scharmer added a layup less than a minute later before the intensity rose to a near max level.
- Blissett has been a go-to free throw shooter in times of need this season, but her all-important block of a Muskie fast break layup attempt with 1:45 on the clock put the confidence entirely in Concordia Wisconsin's back pocket.
- Junior Brianna Wagner (Fond du Lac, Wis.) and Barker (sophomore, Oconomowoc, Wis.) each had a game-high-tying 11 points, and senior Taylor DeLong (Milwaukee, Wis.) finished with 10 points and six rebounds. Wagner also grabbed seven rebounds.
- Blissett (senior, Springfield, Ill.) ended the win with six points, four rebounds and seven assists.

BEYOND THE BOX SCORE
- Neither team shot the ball well, with Concordia Wisconsin making 36.2 percent and Lakeland finishing 38.5 percent from the floor. Both teams combined for a 5-of-28 display from downtown.
- The Falcons held a commanding 45-30 difference in total rebounds (16-6 offensive rebounds) and had 17 assists on 21 field goals made.
- Lakeland outscored the Falcons 28-14 in the paint.

THE OPPOSITION
- Rachel Stankevich scored a game-high-tying 11 points and grabbed five rebounds, while Bailey Grayvold had 10 points and four rebounds but fouled out.
- Kayla Clark also scored 10 points. Maddy Doll and Tori Lauren added eight and seven points, respectively.

NEXT ON THE SCHEDULE
- Concordia Wisconsin travels to Alverno on Saturday for a 7 pm NACC game.

Basketball games rescheduled
December 16, 2016 Basketball games rescheduled