MIDDLEFIELD—Everything was going according to plan for the Cardinal Huskies entering the fourth quarter of Monday’s non-conference game against visiting Lakeside. The Huskies held a 41-35 lead and had the momentum thanks to a nine-point quarter by senior Haley Adams.
Momentum quickly shifted as Lakeside’s Alycia Figueroa found her stroke and scored 18 of her game-high 29 points in the final eight minutes to lead the Dragons to a 60-52 win.
“That was a tough loss for us on Senior Night,” said Cardinal coach Luke Kruse. “We kind of controlled the game but didn’t do what we needed to do down the stretch to contain Figueroa. She had an outstanding fourth quarter.”
Adams finished with 22 points for the Huskies and Emily Kruse pitched in with 11 but Cardinal didn’t have an answer for Figueroa, who hit back-to-back-to-back three-pointers and had an and-one in the fourth.
“I know emotions were running high for our girls with Senior Night,” Kruse said. “I don’t know if that maybe caused some of the uncharacteristic mistakes that I saw from us tonight, fouling on 3-point shots, missing defensive assignments. Maybe the emotion of the night was part of that but give Lakeside credit. They hung in as long as they needed to do to have an excellent fourth quarter.”
Adams scored nine of Cardinal’s 14 third quarter points to give the Huskies a 10-point lead midway through the period.
Lakeside slowly chipped away at their deficit until Figueroa took over.
“It turned the other way,” Kruse said. “Basketball is a game of runs and momentum and once they got that momentum they took control. We had a couple of chances to close it to within five or six and we just didn’t make enough shots down the stretch. We got some looks but we didn’t hit t hose shots where we could have swung the momentum back in our direction.”
The loss spoiled what the Huskies hoped would be a celebration of their seniors but it didn’t diminish the impact those six players have had on the program.
“These seniors have given so much to the program,” Kruse said. “I’m so proud of them as a coach. Six seniors that stick it through all the way through their senior year; for a small school that’s pretty rare. That shows their dedication. We spent some time before the game just talking about each of them and what they mean to me and what they mean to the program.”
Adams and Kruse led the Huskies in scoring while Kathryn Dhayer scored two points and had several rebounds and blocked shots. Maggie Clark pitched in with seven points and Michelle Michael and Cindy Detweiler turned in strong performances in their supporting roles.
Each of the six seniors left her own mark on the program.
“Haley with her passion for sports and Michelle with her intelligence, she’s almost like an extra coach out there the way she sees the game,” Kruse said. “Kathryn with her heart, her leadership, she really brings the program together with her willingness to reach out to everybody on the team. Emily, of course, it’s a unique thing to coach your sister and she’s just been a great player and a great person. It was a privilege to be able to do that with her. Maggie Clark is just a competitor, a scrappy girl. She works hard on the defensive end. One of my highlights of the year is her hitting that game winner against Grand Valley. Cindy Detweiler was away from the game for a couple years. She came back to the program and does everything we’ve asked her to do. She’s just a great girl with a great future ahead of her.”
Cardinal travels to Cuyahoga Heights on Wednesday then host rival Berkshire on Saturday.