HOWARD CITY — The Spartan Spartans came out of the lockerroom at halftime on fire. Karley Cnossen led the flame.
Cnossen scored 16 of her game-high 24 points in the third quarter as the Spartan lead went from nine points (20-11 at halftime) to 26 points (43-17 after three quarters) in a 53-29 district semifinal win on Wednesday night at Tri County.
“We were in a zone and the pace was quite slow in the first quarter,” Sparta coach Matt McCallum said. “We started coming on more in the second quarter, but then in the third quarter we made a good run. That put us up enough.”
Cnossen knocked down three straight shots as the Spartans opened a 27-11 lead. She knocked down seven shots during the third quarter including two three-pointers.
The Wildcats were held to two field goals — both by Alex King — in the third quarter. Lakeview coach Corey Kohler said they struggled to score the entire game.
“We struggled to score all night. We didn’t hit anything from the outside,” Lakeview coach Corey Kohler said. “Anything we tried to do inside they were bigger and better than we were.”
Jill Steenwyk added 14 points for the Spartans with most of her points inside and at the free throw line.
“They take chances on zone,” McCallum said. “We were smart, in the right places, made good passes and shot really well.”
The Wildcats tried to turn up their transition game, but did so a little too late.
“We needed to run the floor a little better and we did in the second half,” Kohler said. “By the time we started running it was over.”
Lakeview outscored the Spartans 12-10 in the fourth quarter. They were down 20-11 at halftime.
“Defensively, we had some lapses early,” Kohler said. “Once we started to press that was easy offense for them. They are a great squad and come out of a decent league.
“They were too much for us and deserve a lot of credit. I thought they played really well,” he added.
Megan Leach and King each had 11 points to lead the Wildcats.
The Spartans were a perfect 12-for-12 from the free throw line.
“Our size hurt them. We have two six-footers and got a lot of rebounds,” McCallum said.
Sparta improved to 13-8 overall with the win. They play in the O-K Blue Conference.
Lakeview finished its season with a 14-8 record.
“We were fairly young with a couple of seniors that played a lot,” Kohler said. “I felt like people we should have beat, we did. We gave a few others a hard time. I was proud the way they played. They played hard and never quit.”
Sparta will face Tri County Friday at 7 p.m. for the Class B No. 54 district title at Tri County.
SPARTA 53 , Lakeview 29
Sparta 10 10 23 10 — 53
Lakeview 7 4 6 12 — 29
SPARTA (13-8) — Wilde 0 2-2 2, Cnossen 9 2-2 24, Steenwyk 5 4-4 14, Anderson 2 2-2 6, Kolenda 2 2-2 7. Totals: 18 12-12 53. Three-point goals: Cnossen 4, Kolenda. Fouled out: None.
LAKEVIEW (14-8) — Henry 0 1-2 1, Leach 3 3-5 11, Lindsey 1 0-0 2, King 4 1-2 11, Molitor 1 0-0 3, Shurlow 0 1-2 1. Totals: 9 6-11 29. Three-point goals: King 2, Leach 2, Molitor. Fouled out: None.