Girls Basketball: Lake City mounts wild comeback for win over L-A
LAKE CITY – In what may go down as the most unlikely comeback of the 2016-17 season, Lake City put Lewiston-Altura back on the bus Thursday with a 52-point second half that erased a 16-point deficit at halftime.
The Tigers, missing star captain Daynalyn Jostock for most of the game, finished off the 76-56 victory by clearing the end of the bench after it looked like the Cardinals would be the ones to run away with the game.
“That first half, I thought I was going to have a heart attack,” said Lake City's first-year head coach Clay Ostad. “Daynalyn is a big piece of the offense. When she went down, that was a captain, a senior leader, a double-double, and it took the girls a little bit of time to get used to that. But the girls did a great job in the second half overcoming that. They picked up the slack, and they picked up the defense, especially the press. I'm glad to pull that one out.”
Jostock, who scored the first eight points of the game for the Tigers, was carried off the court with 9 minutes, 3 seconds left in the first half after a couple of players fell into her legs on a loose ball. Lake City trailed 22-17 at that point, and would score only seven more points in the first half.
The defense suffered some with Jostock's absence, but the offense was in complete disarray. Three of the seven points were from free throws, while L-A hit a couple of 3-pointers and scored eight of the final 10 points of the opening 18 minutes.
With the team and coaches in the locker room, Jostock remained on the bench at halftime. That scene is usually followed by the visitors having their way with the game. But the Tigers had six points in the first two minutes of the second half and, after a two-point interruption from the Cardinals, ran off 15 more to take the lead, 45-42.
Much of that spark came from Allison Kubista, who hit four 3-pointers in that stretch, and scored 20 of her 23 points in the second half. Ava Wallerich had back-to-back steals that finished in layups, and had seven points, all after halftime. And Julia Anderson's nine points all came late.
“At halftime, we just talked it out a little bit, and I put it on them,” Olstad said. “They decided to pick up their energy and they played their game. They were definitely flat in the first half. I was impressed at how they came out and decided not to quit and to erase the deficit and pull this out.”
L-A briefly jumped ahead 46-45, but Lake City was not going to derail once again. The Tigers hit a couple of baskets, and again fended off a couple of quick scores from the Cardinals. The closest L-A would get again was two points, with 9:56 to play. Two minutes later it was a 10-point game, and by the time the reserves came in, it was an 18-point spread.
“Ava coming off the bench had a heck of a second half. Deandra (Oelkers) played great, tough, hard-working basketball. Allison hit a few big shots, and Julia , she's always strong with the ball,” Olstad said. “All around, that was just a great effort, and finally all five girls rebounded at one time.”
Before the score got out of hand, Jostock did make an appearance. It was brief, but a welcome sight for teammates, coaches and fans.
“She told me she could go, so I gave it a try. I was nervous about that, I didn't really want to test anything, basketball is a long season. I wanted to protect her,” Olstad said.