CHS girls pick up first win over Lexington
Columbus High girls basketball played its best game of the season, Alyssa Turner played the best game of her career and the Discoverers notched their first win of the season in 47-35 victory over Lexington on Friday night.
CHS had been 9-0, losing by 38 its last time out, but had its most complete game thus far in all facets of the game and pulled away thanks to a balanced scoring attack that included Turner with 11 and Aspen Luebbe with a team-high 13.
It’s the highest scoring game of the season for Columbus and included seven different players scoring at least two points.
“We just played more as a team, more tonight than we have in the past. We all came out together, came together as a family and played our hearts out,” Turner said. “We played our hearts out tonight. We hustled harder. We just got it done tonight.
“I can’t put it to words, it was just really good.”
Columbus led mostly throughout, endured a slow start to the second half but locked it down defensively thereafter and controlled the battle on the glass all night.
Though Lexington junior post Madison Sutton had a distinctive size advantage, and she scored 10 points, Columbus shut her out after she scored the first six Minutemaid points of the second half.
Sarah Treffer, who averages over 12 points per game, was held to just 10.
CHS grabbed 13 offensive rebounds to just six for Lexington and won the overall rebounding margin by more than 10.
“I thought the kids did a really good job. We gave up some offensive rebounds, but for the most part, the girls made more of an effort to check out tonight,” coach Dave Licari said. “I thought that showed.”
“We set a goal of trying to hold them to six offensive rebounds or less, because that’s probably been our weakest area on the defensive end. I definitely thought we did a better job than that.”
Despite starting 0-9, struggling through shooting woes and failing to score 40 or more in any contest this season, Licari has been complimentary of the girls’ attitudes and how they show up to work each day at practice.
“We all just work together as a family. No matter what we did the day before, we just try to work harder,” Turner said. “We fix our mistakes. We still have a lot of room for improvement, we see that in practice, but tonight showed that we came out and fixed some mistakes of the past.”
Columbus took a 14-11 lead through the first eight minutes thanks to a make off a Lexington turnover by Lauren Benck, 3-pointers by Turner and Macee Trotta and a putback by Jaleigh Adams-Tuls.
Turner hit a shot in the lane and drew a foul at the end of the quarter extending a one-point advantage to three. The play was a microcosm, of sorts, for the Discoverers who were much more aggressive at attacking the basket than in any other game this season.
“We tried to focus a little more on that this week in practices,” Licari said. “We haven’t been getting to the line much, and that’s not going to happen if we’re passing it around only on the perimeter.
“The great thing was, we practiced it, we tried to emphasize it and we brought it into the game.”
Columbus held Lexington without a field goal in the second quarter while, as Licari mentioned, taking six trips to the line. The result was a 23-14 halftime lead.
Sutton then brought the Minutemaids within five with the first four points of the half, the lead was cut to just one moments later, but Turner and Luebbe combined for 8-3 run to finish the quarter with a 34-28 Discoverer advantage.
Gracie Luebbe, Aspen Luebe, Turner and Benck then head had two on an 8-0 run to begin that fourth quarter that put the game away.
Columbus shot 16 for 43, not great, but above its season average. CHS was 12 for 21 from inside the arc but struggled to 4 of 22 from outside.
“That’s a ways above our season average. We’ll take that,” Licari said. “I think the girls made a little more of an effort on getting to the glass, too. That earned us a lot of free throws on putbacks.”
The Discoverers won’t have much time to celebrate however. They’re back in action Saturday afternoon at Aurora.
“It feels amazing. The locker room after the game, it was just...I don’t know,” Turner said. “We were happy, we were crying, we were just having a good time, we were all smiling, we were all laughing. We were just all relaxed tonight.”
Nate Tenopir is the sports editor of The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at email@example.com.