Finlandia women hit enough threes to win

HANCOCK – Finlandia University women’s basketball coach Jason Keefer didn’t figure his team would put up a season-high 42 three-point attempts Saturday afternoon versus Silver Lake College.

But Keefer was satisfied that his team hit enough from three-point land to carve out a 69-52 win at Paavo Nurmi Gym.

“We managed to hit enough of them (13 in all), but we didn’t plan it that way,” Keefer said. “The girls were just getting plenty of tries from out there … and they put them up.”

Silver Lake skipper Mike Fientje wasn’t surprised by the Lions long-range bombardment.

“When we played them last month at home, they did shoot a lot of threes,” Flentje noted. “I didn’t think we got out on them enough today and that led to our early problems.”

The Lions hammered in their first five triple tries on the way to a quick 15-2 lead.

But as has often been the case this season, the FU shooting went cold and the Wisconsin team battled its way back into the game.

A 23-4 run to end the half by the Lakers gave them a 29-26 lead at intermission.

“The lid went on the basket and that’s the way we’ve played at times,” Keefer said. “We just seem to lose focus in some games.”

Hailey Gervais, who handed out a game-high 10 assists, gave FU the lead for good at 34-33 with a triple and then set up teammate Marissa Burke for another trey as Finlandia grabbed 48-36 margin early in the second half.

Burke, who connected on six trifectas and led her team with 20 points, was a key to putting away the Lakers.

“Marissa Burke has very good range and she’s pretty consistent,” Keefer said. “She was on today.”

Silver Lake managed to cut the lead to four points late in the game before Finlandia’s 6-foot-2 freshman center Emma Cole netted three quick buckets to put the lead to double figures.

Now 9-13 after its sixth triumph in the last seven games, FU received 12 points each from Brierra Ruska (eight boards and four steals) and Cole, who also nabbed nine rebounds.

Paige Yoho added nine points and six assists, while Gervais, the former Hancock High standout, tacked on eight points and eight rebounds to go with her assist total.

Silver Lake dropped to 12-11 on the season and was paced by Kaela Cheesman with 12 points.

The Lions go to Crown College on Tuesday night.