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The Lakeland College Muskies moved into first place in the Lake Michigan Conference with a 61-51 victory over the Concordia Falcons on Wednesday evening. Concordia entered the game with a half-game lead over the Muskies and also held a slight edge at the half, 24-22.
"It was a good game," said sophomore Brenda Paulson. "We knew we had to step it up tonight and we did a good job proving ourselves tonight."
With senior Kristi Thill hitting a 3-point basket with 17:33 left in the second half the Muskies took a 29-26 lead that they would not surrender. With 2:05 remaining in the game Lakeland started to seal the victory as they took a 54-47 lead off a free throw by sophomore Jenna Boehm.
"First of all tonight's game is exactly how we expect Brenda to play every game," said head coach April Arvan. "She has played well a couple games in a row now. Jenna came on big time in the second half. Jenna is always just a consistent player. It is beneficial for our team to have her out on the court and not in foul trouble.
"Kristi Thill is someone we just need on the court. I prefer not to play her 40 minutes, but we just need her on the court. Stat wise tonight her shooting didn't look very good, but she got stuck in a lot of shot clock plays where she had to force some things up. Without her on the court for 40 minutes this game might have been different."
The Muskies had three players score in double figures with Paulson leading the way with 17. Thill, who struggled on the evening shooting 4-21 scored 15 points, with six of those coming off of free throws. Thill also led the team with eight rebounds. Boehm shot the best percentage on the night going 6-8 and tallying 14 points.
The Muskies shot 37 percent from the field on the night, while holding the Falcons to just 29 percent shooting. The Lakeland defense also forced 17 turnovers.
"We have been shooting in the 20 percent range in the month of January and we made some adjustments at halftime," said Arvan. "Offensively, we ran some plays we haven't run and made some different decisions we haven't made all season. Our players did a really good job picking up our adjustments and implementing them in the second half."
The Muskies, 15-6 overall and 10-2 LMC, travel to Alverno on Saturday, Feb. 4. Lakeland returns home on Wednesday, Feb. 8 for a contest with Edgewood, who is currently tied with Lakeland for first place in the LMC.