Huskies struggle to keep up with Lions

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LAGRANGE?#34;Nobody said the West Suburban (Silver) Conference would be easy.

If the Oak Park and River Forest girls' basketball team didn't know that already, it learned that sad fact of life last weekend with a pair of conference losses, the later a 70-46 blowout on the road against Lyons Township on Saturday.

"We just did not play well and I think the (60-50 loss to Glenbard West the night before) was still with them," Huskies coach Adrian Newell said. "They did not bounce back as well as they should have.

"It's tough because you don't get time to prepare for the second game in a row like this. You try to prepare for two teams one day during the week, but it's hard to do. Especially with two really good teams."

The Huskies (6-3, 1-3) struggled to stay with the Lions (8-1, 4-0) from the start as LT connected on its first five shots to run to an 11-4 lead. Ashleen Bracey scored to trim the lead to four at 11-6 midway through the first quarter, and Brittney Marshall drilled a 3-pointer to open the second quarter and bring OPRF back to within four at 19-15. However, that was the last time the Huskies would be that close.

LT promptly went on an 18-5 run and would take a 37-22 lead into halftime. The Huskies would get no closer than 11 points in the second half.

The Lions did it with an extremely balanced attack.

Every LT starter scored in every quarter but the third, leaving no single player for the Huskies to try to shut down.

"I was surprised at halftime that we had 37 points," LT coach Dawn Schabacker said. "I was like, 'Where did this offense come from,' because it wasn't any one person. It was a good offensive game for us and defensively, we did what we had to do because Oak Park is a decent team. They have some players. I thought we changed it up enough that we had them off-balance."

While the Lions took turns lighting up the scoreboard, the OPRF offense struggled. The main culprit for that was turnovers. The Huskies committed five in the first quarter, 13 in the first half and 29 for the game.

"That will kill you right there," Newell said of the miscues. "Those are shots you're not getting at the basket."

The Huskies actually shot well when they gave themselves the chance, hitting on 50 percent of their attempts in the game. Only in the third quarter did OPRF's shooting percentage fall off, and even then only marginally (7 of 15 in that period).

Another bright spot for OPRF was its aggressive defensive play that helped force 23 LT turnovers, though the Lions still held a 20-15 rebounding advantage for the game.

Bracey scored a team-high 15 points and Marshall finished close behind with 13. Amber Slaughter also finished in double digits with 10 points. Tazia Middleton scored four and Megan Kiefer and Ann Schraufnagel each added a basket. Slaughter had a team-high six rebounds.

When the Huskies play York at home on Friday, the focus will be on not digging themselves into an early hole.

"We got behind and people were trying to do things, and they weren't working out," Newell said. "We have to try to stop getting behind so early. I guess we just have to score more quickly than the other team."

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