High School Sports

Lance’s 29 points lead No. 3 White River girls past Franklin Pierce, 73-46

It pains Chris Gibson to kind of admit the obvious.

This is a very explosive offensive girls basketball team he has at White River High School.

Right now, he will sit back and enjoy high-scoring games for a change — like his team’s 73-46 victory over host Franklin Pierce on Friday night.

The Hornets (10-0, 6-0 in 2A SPSL), ranked No. 3 in The News Tribune’s Class 2A rankings, sank 11 3-pointers, led by the remarkable effort of point guard Amanda Lance (season-high 29 points, six assists, six rebounds), who made six.

“It’s just another year of experience,” said Gibson, asked to explain why his team is so much better scoring. “We have depth, too. We have kids coming off the bench who can flat-out shoot it.

“And we are longer (armed) than we have been in a while, and that helps us offensively and defensively.”

For a half, the Cardinals (7-5, 5-1) — one of White River’s chief threats in the 2A SPSL — stayed right there. They sank five 3-pointers in the first half, but were done in by a scoreless stretch of 8 minutes, 16 seconds that began early in the third quarter.

“They are a great team,” Franklin Pierce coach Jake Tyrrell said. “You can’t come off and not score with them. We got a little sloppy … and started pressing a little bit.”

A more mature and efficient Lance has made all the difference.

As a senior, she is setting teammates up first — then getting rewarded with passes back out to the perimeter.

And she was knocking down those shots Friday, even not feeling her best with a touch of the flu.

“At the beginning, it was definitely hard. I was having a lot of chest pains. I was hunched over a lot,” Lance said. “But with all the adrenaline, it went away — thank God for that.”

With the Cardinals trimming it to 42-33 early in the third quarter, Lance responded with a lean-in 10-footer in the paint to push the Hornets’ advance back to double digits.

And she had one big scoring spurt left in her, tallying seven points in 32 seconds — the last off a Lucy Rasmussen steal — to give the Hornets a 56-33 lead with 1:36 to go in the quarter.

Afterward, Tyrrell said Lance was arguably the classification’s best player in the state.

“Coach (Gibson) is not giving us a longer leash — he knows we have the ability to score, and it all comes within the flow of the game,” Lance said.