by: Dr. Richard Midcap
McHENRY – Datoria Higgins, Destany Love and Alexis Sneed each took turns shouldering the scoring burden Friday night as the Garrett College women's basketball team wore down visiting Butler County Community College, 65-56, in the McDonald's Basketball Tip-Off Tournament.
Higgins had 16 of her 18 points in the first half, helping carry the Lakers to a 27-24 lead at the break. Love (team-high 19 points) and Sneed (15 points) combined for 23 second-half points as the Lakers led by as many as 15 points.
"We needed all three of them to step up," said J.T. Lewis, who won his opening game as the Lakers' head coach. "Datoria was all-conference and all-region two years ago before redshirting last season, and I knew Destany and Alexis were capable of helping with the scoring."
Garrett held a nervous, 18-16 lead after one quarter and scored only nine points in the second period to keep BCCC in the game. A 19-13 advantage in the third quarter helped the Lakers break open the contest.
"We missed a lot of layups and they [Butler] did a good job getting the ball inside in the first half," said Lewis.
Love nearly provided a triple-double, hauling in 14 rebounds and blocking 8 shots. Higgins, meanwhile, just missed a double-double as she pulled down 9 rebounds.
Nicole Pysell added 9 points and dished out four assists, tying Higgins for team-high in helpers.
Lewis lauded the decision of GC softball players Madison Rush and Danielle Collins to recently join the team and provide some added depth.
"They've only been out for two practices, but they came right in and helped us," said Lewis. "Madison did a good job on defense and Collins [who is the squad's tallest player at 6-foot-1] gives us some length," said Lewis.
Makenzie Craig finished with a game-high 28 points for Butler and Carly Burdett added 13, but no other Pioneer made it into double figures.