Lutheran North News

Kayla Sullivan's 4-point play propels Lutheran North over Francis Howell Central

ST. PETERS — Kayla Sullivan enjoyed the rare feat.

The Lutheran North sophomore guard recorded an elusive 4-point play Wednesday to lead the Crusaders to a 61-45 win over Francis Howell Central in the semifinal round of the Lutheran St. Charles Tournament.

North (2-0) will face Rolla (3-0) in the tournament championship game at 8 p.m. on Friday.

Howell Central (1-1) battles MICDS (1-1) in the third-place affair at 5 p.m.

Sullivan's gem came in the second quarter and kick-started a run of 13 successive points for the Crusaders.
She was knocked to the floor as her 3-point shot sailed through the basket. Sullivan pumped her first in the air before making the subsequent foul shot.
Both Sullivan and sophomore teammate Laila Blakeny understood the gravity of the moment.
“It felt really big to me,” Sullivan said.
“It got our energy up,” Blakeny added. “It got us hyped and it got us up. We started playing really well on offense and our defense really responded, too.”

The game was never in doubt after the 13-0 blitz.

Blakeny finished with a game-high 23 points. Sullivan added 20.

“Once we got going, we hit a couple of big shots and we clung together and tightened up the defense,” North coach Chris Forrest said. “We stopped getting lost and we hit some big shots.”
After the 4-pointer, Sullivan got Blakeny more involved in the offense.

“I know if I give it up to her, she’s going to make the shot,” Sullivan said.

Howell Central coach Hayley Leake took some of the blame for the loss.

“We needed to respond better and that starts with me,” Leake said. “It starts with the head coach and that should permeate down to the players. I’ll say I need to be better. I need to put them in a better position to be successful. I did feel like our response wasn’t as consistent as it needed to be.”
Senior forward Sofia Tweedie led Howell Central with 15 points.
Forrest enjoyed the 43-point explosion by his dynamic duo, but he was also pleased with the contribution from his second-line players.

“I can’t give our bench and those girls credit enough because we didn’t go deep,” Forrest said. “The girls that were here were screaming their butts off. Without having fans in the stands, we’ve got to find ways to manifest our energy and the bench really did that tonight.”

Forrest is looking forward to facing Rolla, which has captured its first three games by a combined 79 points. The Bulldogs won 23 of 27 games last season.

“They’re long, they’re big and they trap well,” Forrest said. “Their girls play extremely hard. We’re going to be in it in every possession and give it our all.”
This story was originally published here.