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Lady Cats edge rival Paola to win second straight game

Andy Brown / Louisburg Sports Zone

Louisburg sophomore Zyleigh Melton gets on the floor for a loose ball during Tuesday’s home victory over Paola.

For the first time this season, the Louisburg girls basketball team has found itself in the midst of a winning streak.

The Lady Cats hosted rival Paola on Tuesday and came away with a 42-38 victory over the Panthers to record their second straight win on the season.

It may not have been the cleanest or smoothest game on either side, but Louisburg battled through adversity and made the plays it needed to down the stretch.

“It was a very strange game,” Louisburg coach Adrianne Lane said. “I didn’t feel like we could get much going on offense and Paola was a pretty physical team. It made it hard for us to get going. I thought we did a great job holding on and hitting some big free throws there at the end.”

Nine of the 13 points Louisburg scored in the final quarter came at the free-throw line. Sophomore Zyleigh Melton, along with juniors Sabra Brueggen, Ashlyn Kuhlman and Jillian Asher all knocked down crucial free throws in what was a close game throughout.

Louisburg junior Sabra Brueggen led the Lady Cats with 10 points, including an 8-for-8 performance from the free-throw line.

As a team, the Lady Cats were 17-for-24 from the line. Brueggen was 8-for-8 for the game, as she hit several in the first half, while Melton and Kuhlman combined for seven points from the line in the fourth quarter.

“Those were big for us, even ones that we hit early,” Lane said. “I know Sabra had like four or so early in the game and then hit some late too that were key. It is great that we can make those when we need to. 

“We have definitely been working on them, but when they can do that in a pressure situation it says a lot of them as a basketball player. Those were the difference in the game for sure. They kept putting us at the line and we couldn’t get much going offensively other than those, so they were key.”

Paola jumped out to a 10-4 lead early on, but the Lady Cats were able to battle back and take a 15-14 lead on a 3-pointer from Ally Brown midway through the second quarter.

Prime Accounting

It was tied at 18-all at halftime before the Lady Cats went on a mini 7-3 run to put them up 29-25 at end of the third quarter thanks to baskets from Kuhlman and Brown.

Louisburg junior Jillian Asher pressures a Paola player during Tuesday’s home game.

Louisburg extended its lead to six early in the fourth on a basket from sophomore McKenna Lohse, but Paola went on a mini 5-0 run to make it a one-point game.

The Lady Cats earned their living at the free throw line as two Melton free throws pushed the lead out to three. Kuhlman followed with two more and Melton added another with under 10 seconds left to seal the win.

Brueggen led the Lady Cats in scoring with 10 points, while Latham and Melton each finished with six. Kuhlman led Louisburg with five rebounds and Lohse added four in the win.

It was Melton’s play that Lane said was a difference maker for her team.

“Zyleigh played really hard out there,” Lane said. “I told her after the game that if I had a game ball she would be the one to get it. She played hard, played good defense and made some free throws at the end.”

Louisburg will try and make it three in a row Friday when it travels to Ottawa for a Frontier League matchup. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m.

LOU 8 10 11 13 — 42

PAO 10 8 7 13 — 38

LOUISBURG (3-11): Sabra Brueggen 1-5 8-8 10; Morgan Latham 3-3 0-0 6; Zyleigh Melton 1-4 4-8 6; Jillian Asher 2-5 1-2 5; Ashlyn Kuhlman 1-5 3-4 5; Ally Brown 2-2 0-0 5; McKenna Lohse 1-1 0-0 2; Shylar Whiting 1-4 0-0 2; Addy Stohs 0-1 1-2 1. Totals: 12-35 17-24 42. 3-point field goals: 1, (Brown)