Antoinette Miller (12), Ferndale, gets past Bloomfield Hills Lahser defender Katie Stewart during girls varsity basketball action at Lahser Thursday, Jan. 17, 2013. (Special to The Oakland Press / LARRY McKEE)
Basketball - Girls
GIRLS BASKETBALL: Ferndale wins see-saw battle against Lahser
Alex Jackson (24), Bloomfield Hills Lahser, takes a hand to the face from Ferndale defender Micaela Ellis (foreground) during girls varsity basketball action at Lahser Thursday, Jan. 17, 2013. Taryn Stephens (background), Ferndale, is also pictured. (Special to The Oakland Press / LARRY McKEE)
Amber Williams (11), Ferndale, goes up for a jump shot during girls varsity basketball action at Bloomfield Hills Lahser Thursday, Jan. 17, 2013. (Special to The Oakland Press / LARRY McKEE)
Suzanne Miller, Bloomfield Hills Lahser, goes up for a shot in the lane during girls varsity basketball action against Ferndale at Lahser Thursday, Jan. 17, 2013. (Special to The Oakland Press / LARRY McKEE)
BLOOMFIELD HILLS — Thursday night’s game between Bloomfield Hills Lahser and Ferndale could only be described as a see-saw battle as the OAA Blue matchup saw almost 20 lead changes.
A pair of late opportunities for host Lahser to either tie or take the lead in the final 30 seconds came up just short as Ferndale had just enough to hold on for a 58-55 win.
“That game built character for both teams,” Ferndale head coach Eric Lloyd said. “Those close games are always the best games to me, blowouts are just boring. But that was an excellent game, it came down to the last possession.”
Early on in the fourth quarter, with Ferndale looking to pull away with a couple of two-score leads, Lahser junior guard Katie Stewart continued to keep the Knights within striking distance as she buried a 3-pointer to cut the deficit down to 44-43.
Then Stewart knocked down her fourth 3-pointer of the second half on a bank-in basket to cut the Ferndale lead back down to one with 4:37 left to play and later in the fourth quarter, senior Suzanne Miller buried a triple of her own to cut the Ferndale lead down to one once again.
“(Stewart) has been one of our best shooters for the past two years,” Lahser head coach Bob Brydges said. “She keeps making improvements every day and we make it a point to look for her, but she’s not the only one, Sue Miller made a big 3-pointer for us down the stretch, Shayla Brown played big for us in the post and Alex Jackson’s defense, we were solid as a team.”
Stewart finished with a game-high 21 points on Thursday night, while Brown chipped in with 11 more, Jackson chipped in with 11 and Miller added in eight of her own.
But Ferndale senior Micaela Elli, who had a quiet first three quarters of the night, accounted for nine of her 13 points of the night in the fourth quarter, going a perfect 7-of-7 from the free throw line down the stretch to ice the game away for the Eagles.
After a see-saw like battle in the first half led to a narrow 29-26 lead for Lahser at halftime, Ferndale took the lead right back to start the second half advantage and then took its lead to 36-33 after four straight points from Tiara Owens.
Owens recorded a workmanlike double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds in her first start of the season for the Eagles ,as the senior proved to be a force down low for Ferndale on Thursday night.
“I came out confident,” Owens said. “I wanted to work out there and I really wanted to show coach that I want to start more than just tonight.”
Lloyd noted that while Thursday was Owens’ first start for Ferndale on the season, it certainly won’t be her last start.
“Her first start was today, not her last, but her first was today,” laughed Ellis. “I’m so proud, because today was her first start and now you see why she started.”
Lahser then responded right back after Ferndale jumped ahead, as back-to-back 3-pointers on consecutive trips down the floor, the first coming from Stewart and then the second from Miller to give Lahser a late 39-36 lead.
But in the closing seconds of the third quarter, Miller drilled a deep 3-pointer of her own at the buzzer to make it a tie game heading into the fourth quarter.