Eagles Clinch GLIAC Title

Noah Cloonan

The Ashland Eagles (24-1, 18-1) clinched the 2016 GLIAC regular season title with an 80-61 win over Wayne State (10-15, 5-14) and a Michigan Tech (16-7, 14-5) loss.

The Eagles came out strong and soared to an early 11-2 lead to start the game. The Warriors, who took the Eagles to double overtime two weeks ago, came fighting back to make it a 23-21 game with seven minutes to go in the second quarter.

The rest of the first half was a battle and the Warriors took a 32-31 lead with just over three minutes to go in the half. A Laina Snyder jumpshot and four points from Andi Daugherty propelled the Eagles to a 37-34 halftime lead.

The Eagles shot poorly in the first half, but Robyn Fralick was not concerned.

“You just have to keep shooting and having confidence,” said Fralick. “These are college players, they work on their game all the time.”

Her players listened to this philosophy and the second half featured some of the Eagles best basketball of the year. Once again they started the half strong with an 8-0 run. The Warriors responded with a 9-0 run of their own to bring their deficit back to two points.

After the Shannon Wilson layup to bring the lead to two, the Eagles flipped a switch and never looked back. 

The Warriors did not have a made field goal for over ten minutes of gameplay and during that time the Eagles went on a 21-0 run. The run featured the perimeter shooting of the Eagles as Kelsey Peare knocked in two triples and Mckenzie Miller added another.

The run pushed the Eagles to a 70-45 lead with less than eight minutes to go in the game. The starters had done their job as they exited the game and the reserves came in to close out the game.

The Warriors brought the lead back to within 20 and Fralick had seen enough and inserted the starters back in to close out the game.

Andi Daugherty led the way for the Eagles with 23 points and seven rebounds. Laina Snyder finished with 13 points after struggling in the first half and Julie Worley chipped in ten points of the bench for the Eagles.

The win clinched both the GLIAC South Division title and the GLIAC regular season title for the Eagles.

“It doesn’t happen in a game, it doesn’t happen in an instance,” said Coach Fralick. “Its a collective effort of hard work over a long period of time.”

Fralick praised her team for the consistency that they have shown all season, showing up game in and game out and giving their best effort.

“I think its forecasting us for a very good rest of the season” said Daugherty. “But its nice to get this and celebrate it.”

And celebrate the Eagles did. When the news of the Michigan Tech loss reached the ears of the team, the team erupted in cheers from inside their locker room.

The work is not yet done for the Eagles, however, as they will travel to Ohio Dominican (19-6,14-5) next Thursday.

The Eagles have two road games before they finally head back home to take on Lake Erie in the regular season finale.