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Pawlitz diversifies offensive portfolio to lead Lutheran South past Washington

Pawlitz diversifies offensive portfolio to lead Lutheran South past Washington

AFFTON — Emma Pawlitz has a new weapon in her arsenal.

Pawlitz, a senior guard for the Lutheran South girls basketball team, now can score off the dribble to the same effect as she's always been able to produce as a spot-up shooter.

She scored 23 points via both methods Saturday as the Lancers opened the Lutheran South Tournament with a 69-52 victory against Washington.

“That’s what she does,” Lutheran South coach Ben Ealick said. “She’s just a great high school basketball player. For us to be successful, it’s going to hinge on the things she can do to get us rolling.”

Pawlitz, who is averaging 17.1 games this season, has scored in double figures in all but one game.

She scored eight points during a 16-8 run for Lutheran South (5-3) that gave it a 39-30 lead at halftime. 

Her game-long effort included two 3-point goals and a 9-of-12 performance at the free-throw line.

Pawlitz attributed her success at the line from mental toughness she picked up from another sport she plays at South — tennis.

“I think tennis is more of a mental game than basketball because you’re all out there on your own,” said Pawlitz, who was Missouri's Class 1 girls singles state runner-up in October.

“Honestly, I have gained some mental toughness from the tennis court that I’ve brought to the basketball court. It’s easier when you’re playing basketball because you have plenty of others to lift you up and support you. I think with tennis, some of my grit, has carried over to basketball.”

Lutheran South also got 11 points each from freshman forward Ellie Buscher and senior guard Mary Schelp. 

As a team, the Lancers made 22 of their 29 free throws.

“It’s been 15 days since we played, so we broke out and worked on a lot of individual skills and it’s good that we did well from the free-throw line,” Ealick said. “That was one of the areas we identified that we needed to improve as a team.”

Washington (3-7) was led by senior forward Allie Huddleston and senior guard Paige Robinson, who scored nine points apiece.

The Blue Jays were led by assistant coach Chad Briggs as head coach Doug Light was away from the team because of a coronavirus quarantine.

“We just got tired,” Briggs said. “For us, this was the first time that we’ve had to play with masks. It’s one thing that we started working on in practice. We got tired.”

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