Medina Journal-Register — AKRON — The Lady Purple Eagles have struggled to finish games strong early this season, highlighted by a seven-point loss to Caledonia-Mumford in last week’s Wheatland-Chili Tournament, when Albion squandered a 10-point lead with eight minutes remaining.
In Friday evening’s Niagara-Orleans League girls basketball contest at Akron, coach Lucian Price’s Albion squad proved that it has learned a lesson or two from its previous fourth-quarter troubles. Point guard Justice Nauden paced Albion with 18 points, as the Lady Purple Eagles took a big lead early and held on for a relatively comfortable 50-39 victory over the Lady Tigers.
With the win, Albion improves to 2-1 in league play, 3-4 overall. Akron falls to 1-2 in the league.
“Losing a big lead to Caledonia-Mumford was tough, so it was good to see us keep our composure down the stretch and fight back,” Price said. “Justice did a good job directing things offensively, and we played a good defensive game.”
After missing nearly a month of play due to injury, Albion’s Kelsee Soule returned to the lineup Friday and proved effective, notably finding Chanyce Powell inside on a nifty dribble-and-pass move that led to an easy layup, making the score 33-22 Albion midway through the third quarter.
Soule also had a nice assist on a long two-point jumper by Nauden that made it 43-33 Albion after three quarters, putting the Lady Tigers into a sizable hole from which they couldn’t recover.
Soule finished with nine points, and although Price admitted that the recovery process cannot be judged in one game, the coach was pleased with what he saw from his star sophomore.
“Kelsee was out for a month, so it will definitely be a process,” Price said. “We’re going to build chemistry with her as we go along, but she was definitely a spark coming back.”