Bombers hang on to beat Keene

Keene’s Elly Smith (23) grabs a rebound over Lake Placid’s Lindsey Rath while Keene players Amelia Ellis (11) and Alyssa Summo (15) get in on the play Tuesday in Lake Placid. (Enterprise photo — Justin A. Levine)

LAKE PLACID — The Lake Placid girls basketball team jumped out to an early lead against visiting Keene on Tuesday night, and despite the best efforts of the Beavers, the Blue Bombers were able to hold on for a 41-34 win.

Keene came out slow, not putting any points on the board in the first quarter while Lake Placid steadily built a double-digit lead through the second. But the Beavers found their footing in the second and started to claw their way back into the game, almost keeping pace with the home team. The Bombers took an 18-8 lead into halftime.

But the Beavers weren’t done. Coming out of the half, Keene battled back from a 21-10 deficit midway through the third to come within three at 21-18. The Beavers’ 8-0 run was only ended when Lake Placid’s Camille Craig drained a short jumper from the right side to end the Bombers’ slide.

Keene’s Elly Smith, who was dominant under the boards all night, tied the game at 23 after drawing a foul on a layup that she made. With the plus-one free throw, Keene took its first lead of the evening, going up 24-23.

Lake Placid’s Frankie Hathaway quickly answered Smith’s score with a short jump shot of her own that put the Bombers back on top, albeit only for a minute or so as Keene’s Emily Whitney drained a 3-pointer with 20 seconds left to give the Beavers a 27-25 lead going into the final quarter.

Lake Placid’s Camille Craig gets ready to dish the ball underneath Tuesday during the fourth quarter of the Blue Bombers’ win over visiting Keene. (Enterprise photo — Justin A. Levine)

In the fourth, Lake Placid pulled away, rebuilding a small lead, even with increasingly physical and steady back and forth play. Graci Daby gave the Bombers a little breathing room late in the fourth as she passed the ball in from the sideline and got it right back to put another two points on the board to give Lake Placid a 31-27 lead.

Keene kept earning baskets the hard way, but the Bombers were able to keep pace and maintain a steady four- to six-point lead through the final 8 minutes. As time wore down, Keene had to take to fouling to stop the clock but it was too little to stop the tide.

First-year Keene head coach Josh Whitney said his team played well late in the game, but they need to get that intensity to show in the first half of games.

“We seem to be a third-quarter team [and] we need to figure out how to be a first-quarter team,” Whitney said. “The girls seemed to be able to up their intensity level in the second half, but again we need to figure out how to up our intensity level in the first half.

“When they figure that out, it’s going to unlock a lot for them. I had great minutes from my youngsters off the bench, and we’ll just keep building upon it.”

Lake Placid’s Lindsey Rath dribbles around Keene Central School’s Caitlyn Lopez during Tuesday night’s game in Lake Placid. (Enterprise photo — Justin A. Levine)

Lake Placid’s Daby said her team played well, despite the physical nature of the game.

“I think there was a lot of fouling, a lot of physicality and some stuff wasn’t called, but I think it was both teams — there wasn’t any unfairness, everyone was really aggressive,” Daby said. “I think we got in our heads a little bit when we went in the locker room after the first half, but I think when we realized that we were not playing in the game, we readjusted and got back in it really quick.”

Jeff Potter said he’s seen a lot of things that please him in the couple of games the girls have played.

“We need to be more disciplined with the ball when we have the lead,” the Lake Placid coach said. “We did really, really well on defense, good team effort. We tried to limit second shots, I think we did a good job on boards.

“When we moved the basketball on offense and were more patient, that’s what I liked. I got a team that’s high energy, and I think we need to harness that a little bit sometimes. Overall, I was happy with the way we handled their pressure.”

This was Keene’s first league game of the season, and the Beavers moved to 1-2 overall, while the Blue Bombers improved to 2-0. Lake Placid next plays on Dec. 12 at Seton Catholic.