Deer Lakes girls break into win column with double-digit triumph

Monday, December 9, 2019 | 11:22 PM

Something had to give Monday between the Deer Lakes and Burrell girls basketball teams after both had suffered a pair of losses in tip-off tournaments over the weekend.

Led by the 1-2 punch of senior Makayla Blair and sophomore Reese Hasley, the Lancers were the ones to get into the win column with a 57-41 victory in the nonsection matchup of former section rivals at Deer Lakes High School.

“The most important thing is we played as a team tonight,” said Blair, who led all scorers with 18 points and added 10 rebounds. “We really clicked together. We had been struggling with our offense. We were mentally focused, and we got a nice win.”

Hasley added 14 points and 10 boards for Deer Lakes, which had scored a combined 56 points in losses to Riverview and Avonworth on Friday and Saturday.

“It was really nice to see our offense get going, especially after the first two games with how much we were struggling to score points,” Deer Lakes coach Dave Petruska said. “It was good to see us get started early and often and build a lead.”

Blair drained a 3-pointer just 20 seconds into the game, and junior Jenny Butler added a jumper as the Lancers opened a quick 5-0 lead.

Sophomore Olivia Watts got the Bucs on the board with a layup, but Deer Lakes, aided by strong shooting and 11 Burrell turnovers, pushed the advantage to double-digits with a 16-0 run capped by a Blair 3-pointer with seven seconds left on the first-quarter clock.

Burrell, which started a lineup of three sophomores and two freshmen, didn’t fold its tent and attempted a comeback. Freshman Riley Sterlitz canned a 3-pointer at the first-quarter buzzer, and the Bucs opened the second stanza with an 8-2 run to close the deficit to 10.

Deer Lakes responded, extended its lead to 20 at halftime and weathered another Burrell run to open the second half. The Bucs, on the strength of two 3-pointers from sophomore Ally Fisher, trimmed the Lancers’ lead to 13 with 2 minutes, 55 seconds left in the third quarter.

A jumper from Blair at the 1:21 mark of the frame sparked Deer Lakes as it built its lead back to as much as 20 on two occasions over the final nine minutes of play.

“We kind of settled down after that first quarter and understood what we could do to take advantage of what Deer Lakes was trying to do,” Burrell coach Joel Ceraso said. “We have a really young team, and it’s a process. We saw some good things tonight, just as we did against two really good teams in Southmoreland and West Greene (at the Southmoreland Tournament). For us, it’s a matter of putting two good halves of basketball together.”

Fisher, who hit a total of four 3-pointers, led Burrell with 14 points. Watts added nine points, and Sterlitz and freshman Addy Landowski contributed eight points apiece.

Sophomore Nikki Fleming and freshman Anna Bokulich chipped in seven points each for Deer Lakes.

Deer Lakes and Burrell now turn their attention to section openers Thursday. The Lancers begin Section 3-3A play at home against South Allegheny, while the Bucs start Section 1-4A action at home against Apollo-Ridge.

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at or via Twitter .

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