BASKETBALL: Canen, Stemmer Lead Saline to Comeback Victory Over South Lyon East
Ella Stemmer and Sophie Canen combined for 53 points as Saline (2-0) defeated Southy Lyon East, 61-52, Saturday at Saline High School.
Stemmer (29 points) and Canen (24 points) were clutch from the free-throw line. Stemmer went 12-for-13 from the stripe - and didn't miss a shot until the final minute when the game was out of reach. Canen was 14-for-17 and a perfect 9-for-9 in the second half.
It was a close game most of the evening, but the Hornets led until midway through the third when South Lyon East grabbed the lead and forced the Hornets into catch-up mode. South Lyon East led 42-38 after three quarters and then 49-47 with 3:07 to play. The Hornets stopped their opponents from adding to their lead and Emily Wilczynski ran up the floor, cutting toward the middle and drawing the defense toward. She kicked it back to the outside for Canen. She drained the three to give Saline a lead they did not relinquish. Canen said she knew it was good as soon as the ball left her fingers.
"I did. I kept my follow-through up there," Canen said. "We needed that to go in to get the momentum going and get us on a run."
A moment later, Canen was fouled attempting another three-pointer. She went to the line and made all three shots. Saline led 53-49. They went on a 14-point run in the final three minutes of the game to win.
Coach Leigh Ann Roehm knew South Lyon East was going to give the Hornets a test. She wanted Saline to play a fast, tough team before the team moved into the teeth of the SEC Red schedule.
"I was really proud of how our girls responded to that feeling of our first big game," Roehm said. "Their full-court press is relentless, so you have to maintain that mental focus for the entire game. We learned a lot about how to handle pressure and how to not deal with pressure."
Early in the game, senior Ella Stemmer was the story. She tied the game with a couple free throws then put the Hornet sup with a three-pointer.
Tied at six, she hit a jumper to give Saline the lead.
Saline led 13-12 after the first quarter.
Stemmer got the Hornets started in the second with a couple of free throws and then made it a four-point lead with a lay-up before leaving the game with her second foul.
Stemmer returned to the game with Saline down 18-17. She was fouled and made two free throws to put Saline in front, and then she scored two more points with another lay-up.
Saline led 21-18 and Stemmer had 15 points. South Lyon East came back with a three-point play to tie the game.
That's when Canen's offense picked up. She started with a beautiful lay-in, pitching the ball in between two defenders. Canen added a couple of free throws to make it 25-21 - but South Lyon East hit a three-pointer to make it a one-point game at halftime.
The second half began with a Canen draining a three-pointer to make it 28-24.
But South Lyon East battled back with a couple of steals they converted into baskets. They spent most of the third quarter in the lead with the Hornets playing catchup. Nicole Sweetland and Stemmer each had third-quarter layups, with Stemmer putting back an offensive rebound for another basket, and Canen went 4-for-4 from the line, but South Lyon East took a 42-38 lead into the fourth quarter.
Coach Roehm called a timeout to give a message to her team.
"Hey ladies, you've all done the work, there's so much talent on this team, somebody has to step up and put the ball in the bucket," Roehm said.
Emily Wilczynski got the fourth quarter started with a three-pointer to get the Hornets within one.
Canen followed with a turnaround jumper to give Saline a 43-42 lead, but South Lyon got that back and more with a basket and free-throw to take a 45-43 lead.
Stemmer drove to the rim and was fouled and tied the game with two baskets from the stripe. But South Lyon East hit two free throws to regain the two-point edge. Stemmer replied with a pull-up jumper to tie the game at 47.
But South Lyon East went backup front with a basket.
That's when Canen stepped up with her three-pointer with 2:53 to play.
Roehm was happy with the defense down the stretch.
"We locked down defensively in the second and everything they got was a tough shot. They missed a lot of shots around the rim because all of them were contested, sometimes two people. I was really proud of our effort," Roehm said.
Roehm also praised the work her team did at the free throw line.
"Our team shot 80 percent from the free-throw tonight. In the end, that was the difference," Roehm said.