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Strock hits free-throw for game winner against Lakeland

by SAMMY BERRYMAN
Sports Reporter | January 21, 2023 1:00 AM

The Battle for the Paddle girls basketball came down to the wire as Aliya Strock dropped the second of two free throws with no time left on the clock to give the Bulldogs a 44-43 win against the Hawks.

“When she stepped up to the line my only surprise is that she missed the first one,” head coach Will Love said. “To go 3-4 in the final minutes was huge.”

Kelsey Cessna scored seven in the first and 14 overall in the game.

“I was really please with the way we came out,” Love said. “Kelsey led the way. She was pretty confident in the locker room and then she went out and executed.”

The Bulldogs led 13-9 at the end of the first quarter.

As Cessna hit a basket straight away, the crowd went into an endless cheering match of “We’ve got spirit!” Lakeland was the first to bow out after about 20 rounds of the yelling match.

Strock got into early foul trouble and sat out for the second quarter.

“That’s a credit to Lakeland,” Love said. “They had a great game plan for us. They were trying to isolate some players in the post and either score over them and get some fouls and obviously, they got the foul part.”

Karli Banks score five for the Bulldogs and 13 overall.

Sandpoint led the Hawks 25-16 heading into halftime.

The crowd was treated to a cheer performance from both schools to kick off the spirit events.

The Hawks scored first in the third quarter and held Sandpoint to two points in the third quarter. Payton Stirling had six points for Lakeland and helped them work their way back into the lead for the first time with less than two minutes to go.

“As soon as they got their feet under them it presented a few challenges for us, especially on the defensive end,” Love said.

Strock and Banks sat out due to foul trouble and the Hawks led 30-27 heading into the final quarter.

The crowd was on their feet as the lead kept switching from Lakeland to Sandpoint and, with a minute to go, the score was tied. The Hawks jumped ahead with 30 seconds to go before Strock tied it up with a pair of free throws.

Strock got fouled again just before the clock hit 0:00 and stepped to the line for the final two shots of the game.

“We’re constantly putting the girls into game situations that helps the kids with their confidence,” Love said. “We always remind the team, this is the fun part, these are the memories win or lose that you’re going to have”

“There’s just confidence about the team and Aliya is a confident kid,” Love said. “She believes in herself.”

Sandpoint travels to Timberlake on Tuesday for their next game.

Sandpoint 13 12 2 17 — 44

Lakeland 9 7 14 13 — 43

SANDPOINT — K. Cessna 14, De. Driggs 1, Da. Driggs 0, P. Cessna 0, Richardson 0, Tuinstra 3, Strock 11, Banks 13, Thaete 2.

LAKELAND — Simon 6, K. Kiefer 3, Munyer 4, Holte 2, Simon 11, L. Kiefer 10, Sterling 7.

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