EagleHerald/Brian Bell
Carney-Nadeau’s Layla Blahnik-Thoune dribbles out of a double team by Stephenson’s Hannah Kuehnau (right) and Ally Schults (back).
EagleHerald/Brian Bell

Carney-Nadeau’s Layla Blahnik-Thoune dribbles out of a double team by Stephenson’s Hannah Kuehnau (right) and Ally Schults (back).

<
1
2
>

CARNEY — Carney-Nadeau senior Layla Blahnik-Thoune scored 25 points to help carry the Wolves past Stephenson on Friday for a 57-53 Skyline Central Conference win. 

“(Layla) is a senior leader, she made a couple changes out on the floor that worked really good tonight,” Wolves coach Kris Blahnik said. “We’ve got a lot of faith in her and I think she’ll continue to grow from here with the team.”

Blahnik-Thoune was scoring from the start of the game, notching the first 10 points for Carney-Nadeau and carrying the team to a 10-9 lead with just over three minutes remaining in the opening quarter. 

Fouls added up quickly for both teams in the first quarter. Stephenson and Carney-Nadeau was in the bonus with over a minute remaining, with the Eagles’ Emily Johnson being the first to capitalize. She swished two free throws with 1 minute, 32 seconds in the first to grab a 13-10 advantage. 

The two teams traded the lead five times before Blahnik-Thoune was fouled with 4.1 seconds left in the opener. She made both free throws and the Wolves took a 17-16 lead after one. 

Carney-Nadeau went on a 7-0 run to start the second and ended it on a 6-1 run to take the upper hand with a 37-26 halftime lead. A total of 26 free throws were shot in the second quarter alone, with the Wolves going 5-for-14 and the Eagles shooting 5-of-12.

“We weren’t really ourselves tonight,” Stephenson coach Shanna Beal said. “I told (the girls) just now I don’t think we capitalized as much as we should have on free throws in the second quarter. That hurt a little bit.”

Seniors Autumn Rasner and Karlee Kuntze stepped it up for Stephenson right away in the second half. 

Kuntze opened it up with a basket inside and Rasner followed with a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to 37-32. The Wolves went on a quick 6-0 run after, but Kuntze knocked down a jumper and stole the ball for a fastbreak layup to jumpstart a run for the Eagles. Rasner closed the quarter off with two steals and layups of her own to cut a 43-32 Wolves’ lead down to 43-41 heading into the fourth.

“Autumn is kind of off to a slow start, but she knew she had to get something going and everyone would follow if it was her,” Beal said. “She stepped it up and pushed it a little and that was a good surge of energy we had.”

Stephenson took its first lead since the first quarter on a fastbreak layup by Kuntze, but Blahnik-Thoune was right there for the Wolves with a long 2-point shot and two free throws to take a 53-50 lead with 1:11 remaining. 

Rasner got the lead down to one with a floater in the lane but Carney-Nadeau closed the game out with two free throws from Sandra Boulton and a basket inside from freshman Tessa Wagner. 

“It feels pretty good to get a rivalry win tonight,” coach Blahnik said. “We played pretty sloppy on Tuesday, so coming in here and holding our heads up, playing smarter and making our possessions worth it felt really good.”

Wagner scored 16 points in the game and was a force down low, something that Blahnik is excited to see for her future. 

“She’s going to improve to be a great player, she did great tonight,” she said. 

Rasner led Stephenson with 18 points and shooting 5-6 from the free throw line while Kuntze and Johnson added 14 each. 

Stephenson heads to North Central on Tuesday and Carney-Nadeau travels to North Dickinson on Friday.