Van’s Kensley White and Sherman’s Hailee Skeens move down court during the Monday, Jan. 20, game between the cross-county rivals.

VAN — The Van Junior-Senior High Lady Bulldogs basketball team (7-3) hosted cross-county rivals, the Sherman High Lady Tide (4-6) on Jan. 20, marking their second meeting this season.

The first contest between the two squads in 2019-20 ended with Van taking a 49-38 win in Seth. The second game was a chance for either Van to take both victories, or for Sherman to claim one on Van’s home court.

The first half of the game saw the teams remain relatively even, though with many trips to the foul line breaking up play. Over the first two quarters, a combined 30 foul shots were taken by both squads.

Players in both white and maroon quickly found themselves in foul trouble. With starters being crucial to their game plans, extra measures had to be taken to keep from fouling out.

Hailee Skeens scored 14 for the Lady Tide in this time, with 8 of the sophomore’s points being made from the foul line.

Van’s scoring was more spread out, with senior Karlie LaFauci and sophomore Alyssa Sampson each netting 8 and sophomore Jazmyn Gibson scoring 7. Gibson additionally managed one of the two 3-pointers of the game, showcasing her shooting ability for the Lady Dogs’ home crowd. By the end of two quarters, Sherman had a slight 28-26 lead.

The third quarter saw less fouls called, but saw Van overtake their rivals with 11 points over Sherman’s 6. Scoring was, once again, spread out fairly evenly over the Lady Dog’s lineup.

Senior Kensley White scored 3 over the 8 minutes to push them further ahead. Skeens and junior Caraline Nelson continued to be important offensive players for their side, but Sherman was ultimately unable to close the gap between them. The game ended 52-41, giving Van both wins in the season.

Van coach Stephanie LaFauci was pleased that her team was able to handle the game well, but noted that depth and strength off the bench continues to be a work in process. Scoring off rebounds and healthiness were two more points of improvement for the Lady Dogs.

LaFauci added that she was very proud of the scoring efforts of Alyssa Sampson, who set a goal for herself to score more often.

Sherman’s coach, Terri Dawn Williams, spoke highly of the importance Nelson and Skeens have had for the more inexperienced 2019-20 squad. She complimented sophomore Zoey Steele’s defensive play, adding that she hopes to see more offense from her in the future. Freshman Annika Roop is another player she hopes to see cement herself as a key player.

Hailee Skeens scored 19 points to lead Sherman. Karlie LaFauci and Alyssa Sampson each scored 18 to lead Van.

The Lady Tide (6-8) play Riverside (3-8) at home on Jan. 29 at 6 p.m. Van’s (9-3) next bout is at home versus Paw Paw (0-7) on Feb. 1 at 4 p.m.