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ORLEANSâ€“After a slow starting first, Lake Region was able to pick up their play in the remaining three quarters, rolling to 50-34 win over BFA-Fairfax in the opening round of the Division Two girls basketball play-offs.
"I think early on we were a little unsettled, a little uneasy, but I thought we settled in and obviously Drew, she knocked down some shots that were huge when we needed them and it was great to have that," said coach Mark Tinker.
It was the Bullets coming out to play in the opening frame, as they used their swing game to put up a three by Chase Carpenter and another two from Meghan Bochanski.
Bochanski dropped in two more, followed by a Brooke Naylor put-back, and it was 9-0 BFA.
"In the first half I think we came out with some good play, using a triangle and two against Gallup and Atwood," said Fairfax coach Mike Wells.
Said Tinker dryly, "I thought we were going to go the entire first quarter without scoring a basket."
Finally, with 2:58 left to play, Kylie Atwood got free and put the Rangers on the board with a three, but Naylor was right there to answer with a three of her own.
Allie Hall closed the quarter hitting two from the line, and it looked like the upset -minded Bullets were firmly in the driver's seat.
Not so fast.
The Lady Rangers have had close games with Fairfax this season, and they knew that if they could adjust there play against the triangle and two, they would be fine.
So as the second quarter got underway, they did just that, out scoring the Bullets fifteen to nine in the frame.
Drew Neal had the hot hand in frame, dumping in three from downtown for nine points. Cailyn Gallup also hit for three, while Sarah Bedard had two and Hall one.
In the third Neal continued to rain down three's on the Bullets.
Kayla Baczewski kicked off the action with a wide open drive through the lane for two, but there was Neal for the three.
Dani Sweet got free in the paint, putting BFA up by one, and again it was Neal answering with her fifth three of the game.
Said Neal of her team's play on Wednesday, "I think we passed really well, did good on our perimeter shooting, and everyone played well as a team."
Gallup then scored on a nice running leaner, and the Rangers were up 28-24. Atwood got back into the swing of things, picking up a steal and going off the glass for two.
After Bochanski missed her 3rd and 4th free throw attempt of the quarter, she finally dropped one in off a nice dish from Carpenter.
Atwood stayed hot, hitting two straight three's to close out the quarter with Rangers now driving the bus, up 36-26.
Ten points is not a huge lead, but Lake Region's, or I should say specifically Tyrah Urie's performance, drove an arrow through the heart of the Bullets in the final frame.
She opened the fourth with eight straight points, bringing the lead to eighteen, and all but sealed Fairfax's fate.
"Normally when I miss I get down, but tonight I felt that adrenaline, and I thought I could keep doing it (scoring)," said Urie.
Fairfax matched Urie with eight points in the fourth, but it was clearly not enough as the Lady Rangers advance to play the winner of Wednesdayâ€™s Hartford-Oxbow game in the second round of the play-offs.
The win marks the eleventh straight home play-off win for the Lady Rangers in the last six years.
"To me, I thought that our defense was what really made the difference," said Tinker, "In the second half we tightened up our defense and that caused some problems for them."
Drew Neal led all scorers with fifteen points, Atwood was also in double digits with thirteen, and rounding out the LR top three was Urie with her eight points.
Bochanski was the top scorer for the Bullets with twelve.