Mallory LaPoole’s return to action came just in time for the Lakes High School girls basketball team.
Returning from a knee injury suffered Jan. 23 against Sumner, LaPoole received medical clearance to return to action Wednesday afternoon, and then combined with Olivia Crawford for 48 points Wednesday night as the Lancers held off North Thurston, 58-43, in a West Central District 3 first-round game.
The Lancers (12-9) face Prairie in a WCD quarterfinal game Friday night at Rogers High.
The Lakes duo saved their best work for the fourth quarter, combining for all 14 Lancers points, overcoming a late North Thurston charge.
A Crawford layup off a steal gave the Lancers a 44-31 lead with three minutes left in the third quarter. That would be last Lakes points for nearly six minutes as North Thurston went on an 11-0 run.
Freshman wing Lauren Bailey banked in a pair of shots in the post, Annelies Dahmen nailed a three from the left corner and Hayley Niles sank a pair of jumpers as the Rams trimmed the deficit to 44-42 with 5:08 left in the game. However, Niles’ second basket would be the last field goal for the Rams.
Crawford broke the run with a floater over the 6-foot-2 Niles, and combined with LaPoole for the game’s final 12 points as Lakes ended on a 14-1 run.
Crawford led all scorers with 27 points, and sophomore wing LaPoole added 21 for the winners.
“We’re a team that is short on depth and we play in spurts. To get LaPoole back was huge for us,” Lakes coach Amber Wynn said. “We’ve needed some help taking things off Liv’s hands. I went to her a little more than I wanted to, but we needed that bump tonight.”
Niles led the Rams with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Bailey added 11 points for North Thurston.
“We finally hit a few shots during the fourth quarter. Did a better job getting in position and executing our plays. Just needed to score a little more earlier to give ourselves a better chance,” North Thurston coach Mike Harn said.
The Rams (8-12) will look to stay alive against Bonney Lake in a loser-out game Friday at Franklin Pierce High.