Supporting cast steps up for Lions

HANCOCK – On a day when their two scoring aces were cold from the field, the Finlandia University women’s basketball team needed someone else to step up against Silver Lake College Sunday afternoon.

Brierra Ruska and Paige Yoho filled the bill and led the Lions to a tough 75-64 win on Homecoming Day.

Leading FU scorers Marissa Burke and Hailey Gervais went a combined 7-for-39 from the floor.

But Ruska tossed in 26 points and Yoho notched 15 more as the Lions won for the fifth straight time to even their record at 10-10.

“You’re going to have those kind of days,” Lions coach Terry Klemett noted. “But we got some really strong performances … from other players … and beat a pretty good team today.”

Klemett said he believed this is the first time in nearly a decade a Finlandia women’s team has been at .500 this late in the season.

“I don’t know for sure, but we’re looking to win our last two games and then head to the postseason (tournament) with some momentum,” he said.

Silver Lake, which dropped to 14-10 on the season, gave the Lions all they wanted.

After edging to within to 60-56 with four minutes left, the Wisconsin team began fouling the Lions.

But the locals were equal to the task as Yoho netted four charity tosses and Mikayla Hakala hit two more to ice the victory at Paavo Nurmi Gym.

“It was a tough game,” Silver Lake coach Mike Fientje said. “We were able to limit their very good three-point shooting, but they did other things. They’re tough to beat up here.”

Finlandia, which leads all Division III teams in shooting from beyond the arc, cashed in on just 23 percent of its tries Sunday.

But two of the treys, from Gervais and Burke, helped snap an early 12-12 tie.

With a 37-27 margin at the intermission, the Blue and White were able to hold off the Lakers in the second half.

Burke contributed 13 points and a team-high 14 rebounds to back up Ruska and Yoho. But Gervais had nine points and Hakala pitched in eight more. Adrianna Osuna came off the bench to grab 10 rebounds for the winners.

Corinna Beaumont paced Silver Lake with 16 points and Courtney Clavers added 14 more.

FU will visit Mount Mary next Wednesday and close the regular season at home versus Northland International.