Red Storm girls secure first win

Lake Placid’s Arnita Cecunjanin goes to the floor after battling Saranac Lake players Olivia Bell (10), Serena Stevens (11) and Alex LaDue for a rebound during Tuesday's game in Saranac Lake. The Red Storm topped the Blue Bombers 45-28. (Enterprise photo — Justin A. Levine)

SARANAC LAKE — Despite a late rally by visiting Lake Placid, the Saranac Lake girls basketball team held on for a 45-28 win Tuesday night at home.

The Red Storm jumped out to an early lead and never really looked back, although the Blue Bombers rallied in the second half to cut the home team’s margin.

Saranac Lake took a 14-2 lead with 30 seconds left in the first quarter, but two free throws by Lake Placid’s Dylan Bashaw and another basket ended the quarter at 15-6.

The Storm held their lead through the second quarter. Late in the quarter, Serena Stevens fed the ball from the right side of the key to Amya Hurteau at the free throw line for a jumper that gave the home team a 23-10 advantage going into the half.

The young Lake Placid team — which had only freshmen and sophomores suited up for the game — rallied in the third and began to close the gap. Arnita Cecunjanin showed prowess under the boards at both ends of the court for the Bombers, as the Blue Bombers posted 12 points to Saranac Lake’s nine in the quarter.

Saranac Lake’s Mistre Newton goes up for a shot over Lake Placid players Natalie Tavares, left, and Deidra Kellerman during the first quarter of Tuesday’s game in Saranac Lake. (Enterprise photo — Justin A. Levine)

Lake Placid cut the Red Storm lead to 10 with 1:30 left in the third, and Bombers’ point guard Natalie Tavares reduced the spread even further with a jumper from the left corner that brought the score to 30-22 going into the final quarter.

But Saranac Lake began to pull away again, and by the midway point in the fourth, the home team was up 37-24. The Red Storm defense came up big late in the game, creating at least a half-dozen turnovers and broken plays. Many of those steals led to quick turnarounds and a series of unanswered points that the visitors could not overcome.

Saranac Lake’s Nora Glover led the scoring with 19 on the night, while Tavares led the Bombers with 10. For Lake Placid, Cecunjanin, Bashaw, Izzy Armstrong, Chelsea Moore, Deidra Kellerman and Grace Crawford all put some points on the board.

In addition to Glover’s 19, the Red Storm’s Kylee Clark, Maggie Carpenter, Hurteau, Olivia Bell, Stevens and Alex LaDue each contributed to the win.

Tavares said that for such a young team, the Blue Bombers played well.

Lake Placid’s Natalie Tavares goes to the basket and gets fouled by Saranac Lake’s Serena Stevens during Tuesday’s game in Saranac Lake. (Enterprise photo — Justin A. Levine)

“For being a really young team, I think we played pretty good,” she said. “We don’t have any juniors or seniors so we’re basically a JV team.

“I think we could run our plays a lot more fluidly and just move around more and find space.”

Lake Placid coach Jeff Potter said with such a young team and a switch this season to facing teams in the southern part of Section VII, the season is going to be a learning experience.

“We’re young, so it’s going to be an interesting season,” Potter said. “But it’s a good group of kids and some really good athletes; we just need to make them basketball players.

“They haven’t played a lot together, so I think that’s one of the things that will come as the season progresses. We got a little more aggressive offensively in the second half and made a little run there. We scrimmaged the other night against Keene, and tonight was a vast improvement over what we saw the other night.”

Saranac Lake guard Kylee Clark dribbles away from Lake Placid’s Deidra Kellerman during Tuesday’s game. (Enterprise photo — Justin A. Levine)

Potter said he was missing his lone junior and senior on the roster, one due to grades and the other due to injury.

Saranac Lake improved to 1-1 on the season with the win and coach Chad LaDue said each game has been an improvement.

“From our scrimmage to Westport to now, we’re seeing improvement each day and hope to continue that progress,” LaDue said. “We were able to get all 12 girls into the game and I thought that the girls coming off the bench gave us a spark.

“All in all, I’m pretty pleased.”

Alex LaDue, a freshman who put up seven points in the contest, said she was particularly happy with the Red Storm’s defensive efforts.

“I thought we played pretty decent,” she said. “Our shots started falling in, so I was pretty happy with us. I’m pretty happy with our defense because I love going after the ball and having steals.”

Saranac Lake next hosts AuSable Valley on Wednesday, Dec. 12 at 7:30 p.m., while the Bombers travel to Bolton on Thursday for a 6:30 p.m. game.

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