TUPPER LAKE - The Tupper Lake girls basketball team picked up its third consecutive win Tuesday by defeating St. Lawrence 38-35.
The Lumberjacks got off to a strong start, jumping to a 22-10 lead halfway through the second quarter, but let the Larries back in the game in the second half.
Senior point guard Katie Stuart pushed the lead to 10 in the first half by hitting consecutive fastbreak layups after the Lumberjacks' defense forced turnovers. Tupper Lake then extended the lead to 12 when Ryane O'Connor hit a layup.
Tupper Lake guard Katie Stuart sets up to take a 3-pointer during Tuesday night’s home game against St. Lawrence. Running next to Stuart is teammate Lizzie Zurek.
(Enterprise photo — Mike Lynch)
By halftime, St. Lawrence cut the lead to 22-16.
In the third quarter, St. Lawrence came out strong and got to within one point after Lindsey Thayer hit a 3-pointer.
But once again Stuart stepped up big. The guard stole the ball, took it down the court and nailed a jump shot from the foul line to give her team a 26-23 advantage.
On the next possession, Stuart hit a 3-pointer that extended the lead to six. She then made a nice bounce pass to Lindsey Maroun on the fastbreak. Maroun put in the layup to push the lead to 31-23 at the end of the third quarter.
"That's what I need from her every night," Lumberjacks coach Jenn Cook said. "She's got to step up and I told her that from the beginning of the season. She's going to have to be our team leader and not be afraid to step up."
Stuart finished with a game-high 22 points, including two 3-pointers. She also had six rebounds, three assists, four steals and three blocked shots.
In the fourth quarter, St. Lawrence once again tried to close the gap but came up just short.
In the final minutes, Tupper Lake's Lizzie Zurek hit a key layup to go with a Stuart foul shot, giving the Lumberjacks just enough for the win.
Zurek tallied eight points and 11 rebounds on the night.
"I think my kids played hard from the get go," Cook said. "We got a little slow in the middle. We stopped boxing out. We stopped doing the little things that were getting the job done early. I think we got content with the way things were going."
St. Lawrence was led by Breanna Vatter, who had 14 points. Two of those were 3-pointers. Teammate Sam Richards chipped in nine.
"We didn't get up and get on the boards," St. Lawrence coach Chad Gauthier said. "It killed us. We're a little slow. We came out flat-footed, started to turn it around and just couldn't get back up."
With the win, Tupper Lake improved to 3-2 while St. Lawrence fell to 1-2. The Lumberjacks win came after the team struggled out of the gate. It appears they have turned things around.
"Now we're getting into the flow of things and we're starting to gel as a team," Stuart said.