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Blaikley Crooks
Freedom grad Blaikley Crooks led the Bears with 16 points.
photo courtesy of Lenoir-Rhyne Athletics

Lenoir-Rhyne Women’s Basketball Stunned by Mars Hill

Mars Hill used a 14-0 run to close the third quarter and held on as Jalen Gathers’ three pointer fell short at the buzzer as the Lenoir-Rhyne women’s basketball fell 64-61 on the road to the Lions. Freedom High grad Blaikley Crooks had a game-high 22 points and Newton-Conover grad Hannah Stull had a career-high 15 rebounds on the afternoon.

In the first half, after a jumper by Azariah Fields to take a 2-1 lead, the Bears led throughout the first half including opening a ten point lead at 14-4. Bears lead 32-23 with 3:05 left in the second quarter before Mars Hill closed the half on a 12-4 run to cut the Bears lead to 36-35 at intermission.

Crooks scored 13 of her game high 22 points in the first half. LR shot 53.3% in the first quarter from the floor but only 37% in the second quarter.

In the second half, after Crooks hit a layup with 5:05 left in the third quarter to give the Bears a 44-42 lead, Mars Hill closed the third quarter with a 14-0 lead to take a 56-44 lead into the 4th quarter. The Bears responded with a 7-0 run to open the 4th quarter to cut the lead in half with 7:07 left in the game.

Baskets by Fields and Crooks and a couple of free throws by Emily Harman cut the lead to 63-61 with 43 seconds left. After a foul, Janette Hanni split a pair at the free throw line to extend the lead to 64-61 but Gathers’ three-pointer with six seconds fell short as Mars Hill held on for the upset win. Mars Hill snaps a two game losing streak to the Bears but LR still has won 12 of the last 14 against Mars Hill.

Crooks had her 40th career start in this contest and the junior passed the 600-point mark with her 22 points in the game. She averaged 24 points per game this week.

Stull had her second double-double of the season with 11 points and a career-high 15 rebounds. Gathers played 39 minutes while scoring 15 points on 6-19 shooting.

The Bears fall to 18-4 overall, 8-4 in the South Atlantic Conference.  LR will head to Wingate for an huge South Athletic Conference showdown on Wednesday. Tip-Off is schedule at 5:30 from Cuddy Arena.