Girls Basketball

HARTFORD — On paper, Hartford looked like the one team that could match up with Lake George girls basketball standout Graceann Bennett.

At 6 feet, 2 inches and very athletic, Bennett is an imposing player in an Adirondack League populated by mostly average-sized players.

The Tanagers, however, have plenty of size, with 6-1 Abby Monroe and 6-foot sisters Alondra and Karlee Nims, plus 5-10 Cailyn Harrington.

But that edge in height mattered little Friday night when the Warriors played smothering defense and forced a whopping 42 turnovers in a 51-21 victory over Hartford.

“They do have a lot of size, and we know that coming in,” said Bennett, who led the Warriors with 18 points, 17 rebounds and seven steals. “I’m really proud of the way we played defense today — that’s something that we’ve been working on: communicating, telling each other that have each other’s backs. That makes a big difference.”

“Hartford’s big, they’re a physical, aggressive team, but we did a pretty good job against them,” said Lake George coach Rob Tefft, whose team improved to 10-0 in the league, 11-2 overall.

The Warriors overcame their own turnover issues — they committed 15 of their 23 turnovers in the first half, but still led 23-8 at halftime. They shut out Hartford’s leading scorer, Harrington.

Lake George also negated the Tanagers’ size by moving Bennett around. Rather than keeping her in the paint, Tefft had her handling the ball, moving inside-out, distributing passes and sometimes driving the lane.

“She’s very versatile — I can move her around a little bit, which helps,” Tefft said. “She handles the ball really well, so I don’t just have to put her in the post. I have some other kids working into the post — that helps with our balance.”

“I know that all of my teammates are going to do whatever they can to help us win the game,” Bennett said. “So if that means me taking the ball up and then finding the open looks for Jade (Baker), Alysia (Kane) or Rachel (Jaeger) shooting, or (Mikayla) Duffy, Ava (Pushor) or Rachel (Green) on the inside — that was just big for us using our strengths in maybe a less-conventional way, because I might not have been where I usually am.”

Duffy scored 10 points and grabbed seven rebounds for Lake George.

Alondra Nims netted eight points to lead Hartford (5-5, 8-6).

“Against a team that is better than you and has one of the best players we’ve seen in this area since I can remember, you have to control your part of the game,” Tanagers coach Wendy Harrington said. “The main thing I said was, ‘Make them beat us with outside shots in the half-court — don’t get beat in transition, don’t get beat off our turnovers, don’t get beat off second chance points. And all three of those things were our Achilles’ heel tonight.”

Lake George 51, Hartford 21

Lake George (10-0, 11-2)

2P 3P FT TP

Graceann Bennett 9 0 0 18

Alysia Kane 3 0 1 7

Mikayla Duffy 4 0 2 10

Rachel Jaeger 2 0 0 4

Sam Jeckel 2 0 1 5

Jade Baker 2 1 0 7

Rachel Green 0 0 0 0

Ava Pushor 0 0 0 0

Totals 22 1 4 51

Hartford (5-5, 8-6)

2P 3P FT TP

Cailyn Harrington 0 0 0 0

Cami Rogers 0 0 0 0

Alondra Nims 4 0 0 8

Rachel Yattaw 0 0 0 0

Abby Monroe 2 0 1 5

Gabby McFarren 1 0 0 2

Lauren Wicks 0 0 0 0

Karlee Nims 3 0 0 6

Totals 10 0 1 21

Lake George 18 5 12 16 — 51

Hartford 2 6 7 6 — 21

Other stats: Bennett (LG) 17 rebounds, 7 steals, 2 blocks. Duffy (LG) 7 rebounds. Jaeger (LG) 6 rebounds, 3 steals. Baker (LG) 3 steals. Yattaw (Hart) 7 rebounds. Monroe (Hart) 7 rebounds, 2 blocks. A.Nims (Hart) 6 rebounds, 4 steals. Rogers (Hart) 4 steals.

JV: Lake George, 36-16.

Follow Pete Tobey on Twitter @PTobeyPSVarsity and check out his blogs on poststar.com.

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Sports writer

Covering high school and minor-league sports in Section II since 1989. SUNY Plattsburgh grad. Colleen's lesser half. Three amazing young people call me Dad. Fan of Philadelphia Eagles, New York Rangers and Mets, and Syracuse Orange.

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