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Democrat Photo by Rob Potter

JEN GUTMAN OF Eldred closely guards Chapel Field’s Jenna Vellenga in the first quarter of the contest.

Eldred Falls To
Chapel Field

By Rob Potter
ELDRED — February 27, 2004 – A quick start and good shooting helped visiting Chapel Field earn a victory over Eldred Wednesday night in an OCIAA Division VI girls’ basketball game.
Chapel Field’s Lara Kuperus swished a pair of three-point shots in the first two-and-a-half minutes of the game to give her team a quick 6-0 lead. By the end of the opening quarter, the Lady Lions had a 15-5 lead and the game’s momentum.
Kuperus made two more three-pointers in the second period as Chapel Field extended its lead to as many as 15 points.
Chapel Field (10-9, 4-4 OCIAA) went on to register a 58-46 victory in the contest.
Eldred (9-9, 3-5 OCIAA) made two scoring runs – one just before halftime and one just after the intermission – but never could take the lead.
Down 30-15 with 1:57 left in the second quarter, the Lady Yellowjackets closed the stanza with an 8-0 run to narrow the Chapel Field advantage to seven points (30-23) at the half. Key baskets in that stretch included a short jumper in the lane by junior center Jessica Cherry and a three-pointer from the top of the key by senior guard Jenny Haas.
Eldred began the third quarter by scoring six straight points. The last two came on a pair of free throws by Cherry, which pulled the Lady Yellowjackets to within a single point (30-29) with 5:53 left in the period.
But on the next Chapel Field possession, Kuperus was fouled while attempting a three-pointer. She then swished all three of the subsequent free throws to put the Lady Lions up 33-29.
Chapel Field then held a lead of at least four points the rest of the game.
“We haven’t played a game in a week, so these girls were really concentrating on this game in practice,” Chapel Field Coach Rebecca Sharkey said. “The girls really wanted to win this game because this is such a tough place to play.”
Kuperus finished the evening with five three-pointers and a game-high 23 points. Teammates Laura Bast and Kristina Prol added 15 and eight points, respectively.
“Bethany Chairot is usually one of our best shooters, but she was just off tonight,” Sharkey said. “Her shots bounced off the rim. I guess the rims didn’t like her, but they sure liked Lara tonight.”
Cherry paced the Eldred offense with 15 points. Lauren Timan netted 13 points and Jenna Fredericks had six.
While Kuperus and her teammates shot well, the Lady Yellowjackets struggled all night. For example, Eldred was just 5-of-17 at the free-throw line.
“Our first six shots of the game were in the paint and we missed them all,” Eldred Coach Frank Kean said. “We’ve got to make those shots. Offensively, we just weren’t finishing our shots. At this point of the season, you have to finish.”
Kean noted that this was the second consecutive game the Lady Yellowjackets have struggled offensively.
“Last week against [S.S] Seward, we shot 46 percent and won by 15 points,” he said. “But in our last game against Manor and tonight we just didn’t shoot well.”
Note: Chapel Field and Eldred might square off again in the near future since both teams will be among the teams participating in next week’s Section IX Class D girls’ basketball tournament. A meeting of Section IX officials was scheduled to be held last night to determine the seeding of the teams as well as the dates and locations of the tournament games.

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