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Lafayette Jeff girls give coach 100th victory
January 22, 2012Lafayette Jefferson High School
Lafayette Jeff saw an early 17-point lead completely disappear against West Lafayette.
Then, seniors Sheridan Steiner and Lindsay Fox knocked down big shots to help the Bronchos score a 55-47 victory over the Red Devils in Berberian Gymnasium.
It was the third consecutive victory for Lafayette Jeff (6-11), but the Bronchos had to hold off a hard-charging Red Devils team that scored the first 10 points of the fourth quarter to tie the game at 41.
That's when Steiner connected on a basket in the paint at the 4:19 left and completed the three-point play after she was fouled to give Jeff the lead again -- and for good -- and give coach Geoff Salmon his 100th career victory.
Fox made sure the Bronchos held on with consecutive 3-pointers, her third and fourth of the game, to push the Bronchos' lead back up to nine.
Steiner and Fox led all scorers with 13 points each, while Kelsey Simms added 10.
"We just needed to slow down our tempo and make the open shot," Steiner said. "When I made my basket, it felt really good because I thought we were back in the game and had the momentum again."
The shots by Steiner and Fox extinguished an impressive rally by West Lafayette, which chipped away at Jeff's lead before its push at the start of the fourth quarter.
Anna Searle scored three baskets, the last one with 5:13 left, to knot the score. West Lafayette coach Jane Schott said while she was pleased with the way her team fought back, it was just too late.
"Jeff came out guns firing, knocked down some good shots and got us back on our heels," Schott said. "I felt it took us a little bit too long to respond to that. Once you get down by 17, you spend a lot of energy coming back. Once we got it tied up they made some big plays and we needed to make some big plays but we came up short."
Carissa Pekny led West Lafayette scorers with 13 points, followed by Searle's 12 and Shelby Mann's 10.
"We didn't blow the lead as much as they came back on us," Salmon said. "They hit some shots they weren't hitting and we just went cold. They weathered the storm and fought hard so give them credit. When we needed them to, our kids did some good things to close it up."
Salmon said the Bronchos played their best basketball of the season in the first half, racing out to a 20-7 lead after the first quarter while building a 17-point advantage on four different occasions in the second quarter.
"We've played that hard before but not coupled with how we shot the ball," Salmon said. "I looked at our stats at halftime and we were shooting 54 percent from the field and for us, that's amazing. We finally got everybody together and they're playing well and having fun and that's the important thing."
West Lafayette managed to keep itself in the game during the third quarter by not allowing the Bronchos to increase its lead. Pekny scored Red Devils last six points of the quarter, four on free throws and then a basket with 19 seconds left to trim the deficit 41-31 to set up West Lafayette's comeback try.
"Carissa played a great offensive and defensive game," Schott said. "You have to respect her ability to shoot the three and drive. Once we tied the score we did relax a little bit. We're still a fairly young team."