GLENDALE –The Big Ten can wait, at least for a little while longer.
Indiana-bound Lyndsay Leikem saw her Tucson Flowing Wells girls basketball team eliminated from last year’s postseason by Chandler Seton Catholic. Leikem’s senior campaign started the same way, with a loss to the Seton in the Highland Tournament.
But Leikem wasn’t ready to start thinking about her college career, and her 10-point second quarter keyed sixth-seeded Flowing Wells to a convincing 41-34 semifnal victory over the reigning Division II state champs Thursday at Jobing.com Arena. Flowing Wells will play for the state title Saturday morning at 10 a.m. on the same floor.
The 6-foot-1 senior, who is her team’s primary scorer, rebounder and ball-handler, didn’t force anything against Seton (30-5), yet still finished with a game-high 20 points.
“She’s a special player. She could’ve had 30 or 40 points a game all season long, but she’s not that kind of kid,” Flowing Wells coach Mike Perkins said. “She makes everybody around her better. She builds confidence. And she’s done that all season.”
Flowing Wells (29-4) trailed 12-11 early in the second quarter after Seton’s Heather Heild hit a jumper, but Leikem scored eight of her team’s points during a 12-0 run to close the half. From there, Seton never pulled closer than six.
“I just had to get them tired,” Leikem said of the second-quarter spurt. “I was tired, too. But I just kept fighting it, and eventually we got it going.”
Seton, which lost senior point guard Anne Marie Holter to a torn ACL earlier this year, couldn’t hang onto the ball, and finished the sloppy contest with 30 turnovers. The second seed only hung tough due to a 13-point fourth quarter shooting explosion from senior Anabel Lopez.
“They have a great press, they have a lot of length, and they can really bother you,” Seton coach Karen Self said of her team’s ball-handling woes. “I’m not surprised by it.”
Kyra Brinsfield added eight points for Flowing Wells, while Shalise Fernander had six.