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GIRLS BASKETBALL: D'Almeida leads Lancers past Lake Shore VIDEO

Senior forward scores 23 in district win

A little lethargy and a lot of Carly D’Almeida spelled trouble for Lake Shore.

Flashing the form that compelled coaches to vote her MVP of the Macomb Area Conference White Division, D’Almeida scored 23 points Monday night to lead L’Anse Creuse to a 59-45 victory over the Shorians in the opening round of the girls Class A district basketball tournament at Sterling Heights.

D’Almeida’s final points of the game came on a basket that restored the Lancers’ lead to 50-36 with 4 minutes, 3 seconds left in the fourth quarter and repelled Lake Shore’s bid to cut further into a deficit that was as large as 23 points on two occasions late in the third quarter.

Behind two 3-point baskets and a three-point play by junior guard Paige Plotzke, the Shorians, who on Friday lost in a bid to win a share of the MAC Gold title, twice got to within 12 of the Lancers, both times on baskets by senior forward Sydney Morgan.

But Lake Shore could get no closer than a dozen and L’Anse Creuse (14-7) set up a date with MAC Blue co-champion Sterling Heights. That district semifinal game will be played Wednesday on the Stallions’ court.

“We got too far down; that was a killer,” Lake Shore coach Jim Roehm said after the Shorians bowed out with a 14-7 record.

“We started out too slowly. We had only seven offensive rebounds tonight; we average 25. The girls didn’t do what they normally do.”

Lake Shore lost at home to Marysville on Friday. Had the Shorians won, they would have shared the Gold championship with the Vikings.

“Did Friday’s loss deflate us? I don’t know,” Roehm said. “I was worried about that, but we had great practices after the game.

“It just seemed tonight like everybody was waiting for somebody else to make a play.”

No one had to wait for D’Almeida to make a play.

The 5-foot-11 forward scored L’Anse Creuse’s third basket, and her first, on a putback and had five points in the first quarter, and then scored four more in the second as L’Anse Creuse built a 26-13 halftime lead.

“She’s a handful inside,” Roehm said.

D’Almeida scored 10 in the third quarter when the Lancers twice went up by 23.

“She’s a great leader,” Lancers coach Lisa Downey said. “We rely on her for so much. She’s tough.”

Most of the Lancers’ scoring came from seniors.

In addition to D’Almeida pumping in 23, three-year starting guard Leeza Donald had 11, Kyara Downing seven and Courtney Powerski and Danielle Campbell four apiece.

“It’s always important in the state tournament that seniors step up,” Downey said.

L’Anse Creuse expected Lake Shore to rally. Downey was wary of the inside presence of Morgan, who finished with 10 points, and the perimeter ability of Plotzke, who had 15.

“We took a punch,” Downey said.

“I thought we got tentative,” Downey continued. “I thought we started thinking about winning and we stopped playing. But that happens.”

Soon after Lake Shore and L’Anse Creuse cleared the court following their 5 p.m. game, Sterling Heights took the floor for practice.

The Stallions, of course, knew their next opponent would be the Lancers.

“It’s always nice to win your first game of the tournament,” Downey said. “Sometimes, that first game can be the toughest one to win.

“It’ll help us to have played a game.”

The L’Anse Creuse-Sterling Heights game starts at 5 p.m. Wednesday. Chippewa Valley plays Roseville in the second half of the semifinal doubleheader.

The championship game starts at 7 p.m. Friday.

Lake Shore 7 6 14 18 -- 45

L’Anse Creuse 14 12 19 14 -- 59

LAKE SHORE (14-7): Xhesika Topalli 2, Paige Plotzke 15, Carly Vargo 5, Taylor LaPorte 3, Sarah McCarthy 2, Sydney Morgan 10, Andrea Rico 3, Mackenzie Nemitz 5. 16 (5) 8-17.

L’ANSE CREUSE (14-7): Courtney Powerski 4, Olivia Martin 2, Emily Hranchook 3, Alize Graham 2, Kyara Downing 7, Carly D’Almeida 23, Leeza Donald 11, Jaevyn Wortham 3, Danielle Campbell 4. 20 (1) 18-24 – 59.

Last Updated: 2/26/2013 7:50:06 AM EST

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