Frontier Basketball Scores & Highlights, Friday 1/9 - News, Sports and Weather

Frontier Basketball Scores & Highlights, Friday 1/9

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LC State Rallies to Win Frontier Conference Opener

The 12th-ranked Lewis-Clark State women's basketball team overcame an early double-digit deficit to claim a 75-70 victory over Great Falls on Friday night in a Frontier Conference clash.

The Warriors, who trailed by 10 points in the first half, improve to 15-2 overall after rallying to win their conference opener. Sophomore guard Caelyn Orlandi led the comeback with a game-high 22 points, 16 of which came after halftime.

“I am so impressed with our girls,” LCSC coach Brian Orr said. “We had to battle and fight back, but they stayed positive and never lost their confidence.”

Great Falls, which received votes in the most recent edition of the NAIA Division I Top 25, fell to 13-3 with the loss. The Argos, however, used an 8-0 spurt to claim an early 13-5 lead.

The Warriors answered with their own burst, scoring 11 of the next 14 points to knot the score at 16-all. Senior guard Tanis Fuller supplied much of the firepower, scoring six points during that surge. She finished with 17 points overall and 10 rebounds before fouling out.

Nursing a three-point cushion with five minutes to go in the opening half, the Argos tallied seven straight points to claim a 35-25 lead. They took a six-point cushion into intermission.

LC State kept chipping away at the margin following halftime. After the Warriors failed to make any 3-pointers in the first half, Orlandi drilled two to begin the second half. Her second trey with 14:49 left gave the Warriors their first lead, 43-41, since they held a 4-3 advantage in the game's opening minutes.

The Warriors later used an 8-2 run to break a 47-all tie. Senior post McKenzie Heaslet, who recorded 12 of her 14 points during the second half, scored two buckets during the key sequence.

The game featured five ties and five lead changes. After trailing by 10 early in the game, the Warriors built a 10-point cushion of their own, at 63-53, with 5:30 to play.

The Warriors were able to flip the score, in large part, to free throws. They made as many from the charity stripe (26) as Great Falls attempted. Orlandi lived at the line, connecting on eight of her nine attempts.

“That's one of our goals,” Orr said. “We're an attacking team that tries to get to the rim to make layups and to get to the foul line.”

The Argos, however, still had a chance to force overtime after drilling a 3-pointer to make the score 73-70 with 2- seconds remaining. Following the basket, they did not allow the Warriors inbound the ball, resulting in a five-second violation.

But the Argos could not capitalize on the opportunity, missing a pair of long-range shots that would have knotted the score. Orlandi then sealed the Warriors' comeback victory by draining two free throws with 5 seconds left.

“Orlandi was really good tonight,” Orr said. “She was the catalyst and really played with a lot of swagger.”

Orlandi also doled out a team-high four assists and made four of her five shot attempts in the second half after going 2-for-8 in the opening half. The Warriors shot 44 percent for the game.

The Argos, who got 15 points and 21 rebounds from Lindsey Abramson, shot only 30 percent from the field. The Warriors, sparked by Brooke Litalien's stifling perimeter defense, held Great Falls standouts Erin Legel and Darah Huertas-Vining to 7-of-33 shooting.

The Warriors continue their Frontier Conference road trip by traveling to Montana State-Northern on Saturday. Tip is set for 5 p.m. PST.

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