BY J. PATRICK EAKEN | MIRROR SPORTS — Anthony Wayne senior guard Sam Schofield put up 22 points and 11 rebounds last Friday, as the Generals defeated Springfield, 52-39, in a Northern Lakes League contest.
Schofield scored nine in the first quarter as her team took a 14-9 lead, expanded that to 27-19 at the half and then held off a late surge by the Blue Devils.
It was the fourth straight victory for AW, which is 12-7 overall and improved to 7-5 in the NLL. Senior forward Keaton Grabarczyk says the hard work is paying dividends.
“The chemistry of this team – we have a lot of fun at practice, we get in the gym –and working hard is paying off,” Grabarczyk said.
Schofield got plenty of scoring help from 5-foot-11 junior forward Kelsey Ragan, who had 14 points, nine rebounds and two steals.
Senior guard Hannah Rybicki scored all six of her points in the fourth quarter and Grabarczyk added four points, both playing key roles.
Carter said Grabarczyk’s play in the second half was crucial. She did all her scoring then and had three rebounds and several key assists.
“I just try to go after the boards and usually I’m not one to score,” Grabarczyk said, “but I work hard to get my teammates the ball so sometimes the ball ends up in my hands. I just put it away when I need to.”
“Keaton is one of those kids who is that quiet contributor and when we need her, that is when she responds,” Carter added.
“We talked about it at halftime, how we need to bring the energy and fix our defense. When called upon, that’s what she does. She’s always been a solid kid.
“She does the little things, she picks up a lot of the ‘junk’ loose balls – for a lack of a better word – and gets the defensive rebounds or the putbacks and makes those post moves, especially when she knows that person defending her is taller than she is.”
Senior forward Kelsey Boyer, sophomore forward Jenna Rybicki and junior guard Kayla Crandall added two points each. Jenna Rybicki and sophomore guard Payton Miller had two steals apiece.
AW committed 12 turn-overs, was 19-for-55 from the field, 9-for-11 from the foul line and outrebounded Spring-field, 43-31.
The Blue Devils had 14 turnovers and were 13-for-41 from the field and 7-for-12 from the line.
Junior guard Mia Rose led Springfield with 18 points, six rebounds and two steals. Classmate and guard Leslie Hiser, freshman guard Kendall Carruthers and sophomore forward Markiya Cunning-ham scored seven apiece, with Cunningham also grabbing 11 rebounds.
Carter was impressed with how much the Blue Devils had improved from their first match-up, a 51-22 AW win. Plus, she said they had three guards who displayed good speed.
Springfield has no seniors on its varsity roster and its program is dominated by freshmen and sophomores. Some of the varsity players are barely 5-foot-tall but are also freshmen.
“Springfield played with a lot of energy. You could tell they are turning things around,” Carter said.
“They love to play the game and it shows and that’s why they are improving. They are going to be good in a few years, if not next year.”