Lawrence Tech Beats Concoridia in Defensive Battle For Ninth Straight
By Seth J. Walker
Southfield, Michigan- The 19th ranked Lawrence Tech Blue Devils (21-4, 13-3 WHAC) won their ninth straight Wednesday night with a 62-52 win over the Concordia Cardinals (18-9, 11-6 WHAC). The Blue Devils managed to go into halftime with a 39-36 lead after surviving a 21-point first half performance by Cardinals senior guard Kari Borowiak. Afterwards, the Blue Devils clamped down defensively on Borowiak, who scored only five in the second half. The Cardinals took a 48-46 lead into the final quarter after limiting the Blue Devils to only seven third quarter points. Then the Blue Devils held the Cardinals to only four points in the fourth quarter.
“We squeaked out of it,” Blue Devils head coach Kylene Spiegel said. “Concordia’s a really good team and I told “(the team) that before the game that Kari’s playing really well and we’re going to have a tough time with her and obviously did in the first half.”
The secret to the Blue Devils second-half success against Borowiak was switching up defenders against her with senior guard Hayley Walkowski volunteering to alternate with junior guard Cherilyn (CJ) Banas in guarding her.
“At halftime, we knew she had 21 points, and I was like, “I’ll guard her,” but CJ was doing a great job, we decided that me and her at the same time or switching out on and off would be good for us to save energy and legs,” Walkowski said. “I think we did well guarding her in the second half.”
Walkowski stepped up as a senior in her second to last regular season home game with 20 points, seven rebounds, and two steals. Sophomore forward Rachel Price added seven rebounds and four blocks.
Borowiak led all players with 26 points and 10 rebounds. Unfortunately, the Cardinals suffered from a lack of a secondary scorer against the Blue Devils, especially when Borowiak was limited in the second half.
“We only scored 16 points in the second half,” Cardinals head coach Thad Sankey said. “I thought our defensive effort was fantastic, but that ability for us; if we could have one more contributor, one more scorer, one more way to generate as Kari gets two or three players on her, on her drives, on her ball screens. That ability to pick up the slack, to find the weak spots in their rotation, we needed that and we didn’t get it.”
Freshman Katherine Snow has emerged as an additional scorer for the Cardinals, but was limited all game due to foul trouble; fouling out with only seven points. Senior guard Briana Rowe, a three-point threat, is out with an injury but is expected back soon.
Both teams now look ahead to Saturday afternoon games. The Blue Devils will host Lourdes on Senior Day, where Walkowski will be honored. They can clinch a top-two seed in the WHAC tournament with a win. The Cardinals will go on the road to face Aquinas, one of two teams, along with Cornerstone, they now trail by a half game for the third spot.
The Cardinals will finish no lower than sixth, but will face a daunting task of trying to secure a first-round home game with Aquinas and seventh ranked Indiana Tech as their final two regular season opponents.
“We have a couple tough games left,” Borowiak said. “We’re playing the (Aquinas) Saints Saturday, so we really need come out and get that win so we can stay in our spot and then just battle Indiana Tech and hopefully stay in that fourth spot and get a home game.”