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Danbury falls from trail

February 23, 2012
Danbury High School

Danbury falls from trail

8:13 AM, Feb. 22, 2012   

Written by: Kevin Shields

ELMORE -- Kelsey Clemons played taller than her 5-foot-8-inch frame at times for Danbury during Tuesday's Division IV sectional opener.

She went the full length of the floor with the ball for a lay-up to tie the game halfway through the second quarter as part of her team-high 18 points. Later she had a runner in the lane, followed by a steal in the third quarter to get the Lakers within two.

But despite the junior's efforts, Danbury couldn't keep up with St. Mary Central Catholic, falling 46-36 in a game played at Woodmore High School.

"She does a great job for us," Lakers coach Ron Aukerman said. "She's just a great all-around ballplayer. I'm glad I'll still have the opportunity to coach her another year."

Danbury (7-14) never led in the game. However, the Lakers kept their deficit to one or two possessions most of the game, tying the contest on three occasions.

Leading 28-25 entering the final quarter, the Panthers (13-8) finally seized the game's control. Star post player, Lindsay Kaatz, scored on a drive to the basket in the lane. Then back-to-back possessions resulting first in a split trip to the line by Alivia Curtis just before a 3-pointer by Bridget Murphy, started an 8-0 SMCC run.

Clemons finally stopped the bleeding with another nice play in the lane with 4 minutes, 41 seconds left in the game. Erin Lavelle followed with a 3 to get the deficit to 36-30.

SMCC went on to score 10 of the game's final 16 points. Kaatz finished with 18 points and 10 boards. Maddie Engeler had 10 points and five steals.

"I didn't think we had it tonight," Panthers coach Rebecca Babione said. "I didn't think we had the focus. I was hoping with a team full of seven seniors, that'd be enough. But sometimes that's not enough. And things weren't going our way tonight.

"I give the credit to Danbury. They played tough. (Aukerman) had them well prepared and they made it really hard on Lindsay tonight."

The Lakers held SMCC to a 16-of-51 (31 percent) shooting performance and forced 14 turnovers. In turn, they shot 13-of-44 (29 percent) and gave it away 25 times.

During the fourth quarter, Danbury struggled with SMCC's 1-2-2 and 3-2 zone defenses.

"That size they have in that zone really does a nice job of taking away perimeter shots," Aukerman said. "The shots we had were always contested in that fourth quarter."

Danbury shot just 3-of-10 in the final quarter.

Yet, the Lakers played tough inside, crashing the boards and making life inside tough on Kaatz.

"That was one thing we worked on the last few weeks after hearing our draw, was being able to force Lindsay to work for what she gets," Aukerman said. "You know she's going to get her points because she's a heck of a ballplayer. And (SMCC) is a five, six, seven-person team, it's not just Lindsay.

"You got to pick your poison."

The Lakers outrebounded the Panthers, a team known for their ability to get second-chances, by a 37-33 margin. Clemons had eight of those boards, while Stephanie Kukay and Lilly Kennedy each had seven.

As for next year, Aukerman already knows what his team will feature. Danbury will lose no seniors, returning three juniors, six sophomores and three freshmen.

"We're very young," Aukerman said. "The next year and the following year will be very exciting years at Danbury."

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