Concordia girls squeeze out 51-44 win over Pike Valley

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COURTLAND — With the Concordia Panthers struggling to finish off a win over Pike Valley, sophomore Maggie Lambert provided some stability.
Concordia was clinging to a 47-44 lead on Pike Valley when Lambert fouled with 41 seconds remaining in the game.
Lambert, a 46 percent free throw shooter, knocked down two free throws.
Concordia got a defensive stop, Lambert was fouled again with 15 seconds on the clock. She again hit both ends of a one-and-one opportunity to seal the 51-44 victory in a makeup game on Monday night.
“That was good for her confidence and good for the team for her to step up and do that. That was really big,” Concordia coach Michael Wahlmeier said, “I also thought she played pretty good defense on Courtney Freed. She is tough to guard, and she did a nice job of containing her.”
Concordia improves to 11-7 with the win in a game that was originally scheduled for Feb. 4, but was postponed because of bad weather.
Pike Valley, a Class 1A school, didn't back down from the challenge of taking on Concordia, a Class 4A II team.
“They had nothing to lose so they are going to come out and get in your face and play loose,” Wahlmeier said, “I thought we played tight.”
The two teams exchanged the lead four times in the first 4:30 of the game.
Concordia, trailing 8-7, got four straight points by Megan James and a free throw by Jordan Eshbaugh to go up 12-8.
“At times Megan did a good job of taking control and getting other people involved,” Wahlmeier said.
Concordia led 14-10 heading into the second quarter.
A three-point basket by Freed and a follow by Jaid Runft gave Pike Valley the lead back at 15-14.
There would be eight lead changes and two ties in the second period, and neither team led by more than three points.
A short bank shot by Eshbaugh in the final seconds of the quarter gave Concordia a 27-26 halftime lead.
Eshbaugh finished with 11 points and eight rebounds.
Pike Valley scored the first four points of the second half to reclaim the lead at 29-27.
Tristen Leiszler made a layup in transition, hit a three-point shot and then connected on a 17-foot jumper in a span of a minute to put Concordia on top to stay, 34-29.
Concordia was leading 38-33 in the opening minute of the fourth quarter when Leiszler buried another three to make it 41-33.
Leiszler scored 17 points in the game.
Pike Valley would battle back to within two points, 45-43, when Jenna Johnson made two free throws with 1:57 to play.
Jennifer Boley scored inside, and Concordia led 47-43.
Freed made one of two free throws with 1:16 to play to get Pike Valley within three points, 47-44.
Lambert then hit four straight free throws to secure the win for Concordia.
“We wish it could have been a little easier, but it was good to get that one and get us started on the right track,” Wahlmeier said.
Concordia plays at Clay Center tonight and has a makeup game at Abilene on Thursday night.
James finished with nine points and seven rebounds for  Concordia.
Johnson led the way for Pike Valley with 17 points. Runft added 10 points.

CONCORDIA (51)
Gumm 0-0-1 0, Lambert 1-4-3 6, Eshbaugh 4-3-5 11, Adams 2-2-3 6, Boley 1-0-1 2, Leiszler 6-2-1 17, James 3-3-2 9. Totals: 17-16-16 51.
PIKE VALLEY (44)
Johnson 7-3-1 17, Kagel 1-0-0 2, Gardner 0-0-1 0, Freed 3-2-4 9, P. Runft 0-1-4 1, Jensen 2-0-2 5, J. Runft 5-0-2 10. Totals: 18-6-14 44.

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