The Iowa Lakes women battled toe-to-toe with Iowa Central Saturday.
The Lakers trailed by four, 64-60 with 1:37 remaining in the contest, but the visiting Tritons made their free throws to pull away. A 3-pointer by Tayler Boroson with 13 seconds left wasn't enough as the Lakers lost 73-65.
"I'm proud of our physical effort," said Iowa Lakes coach Nicole Bullock. "It's the best it's ever been. We just got out-executed at the end.
"If we approach each game with the same type of effort, we'll be in every game," she added.
Iowa Central, ranked 14th in Div. II of the NJCAA, jumped out to a 9-1 lead in the first two minutes and threatened to win with ease. But the Lakers' defense stiffened as they tied the game at 10-10 on two baskets by Nijala Johnson with 14 minutes still left in the first half.
Over the next few minutes, the Tritons started scoring three points-via a 3-pointer or three-point play to build a 22-18 lead, but the Lakers tied the game at 22-22.
Iowa Lakes took its first lead in the last minute on two free throws by Shaunte Taylor at 31-30. The Tritons scored the next four points, but the Lakers had the final possession and highlight of the first half.
With just 2 seconds on the clock, the Lakers inbounded from the side to Alissa Johnson. She took a couple dribbles to get across half-court and launch the ball toward the basket. Fans watched the high-arcing ball bank in from straight on to tie the game at 34-34.
In the second half, the Tritons started quickly with the first six points, but the Lakers would never quite go away.
A 3-pointer by Macy Dahl had the Lakers within two, 54-52 with 6:30 left. Iowa Central's Lydia Harvey immediately answered with a three of her own and the Lakers never got closer than four the rest of the way.
Alisa Johnson led four Lakers in double digits with 13 points. Leah Courtney finished with 11 while Dahl and Boroson each had 10. Tucker finished with nine points, Nijala Johnson had eight and Carly Gilliland and Shabreka Edwards each had two.
Miliakere Koyamainavure led Iowa Central with 18 points.