Strong regular-season home finale for Stuart

TUPPER LAKE – Tupper Lake’s Katie Stuart scored a career-high 32 points in her final regular season home game Monday night, leading her team to a 40-32 win over Colton-Pierrepont.

Stuart, as she has all season, played an outstanding game. In addition to putting the ball in the basket, she also had seven rebounds, six steals and three blocked shots. The point guard also did a great job of finding open teammates and leading the offense.

Because the Lumberjacks are a young team, Stuart was the lone senior honored on senior night.

Stuart was emotional after the game. She hugged Lumberjacks coach Jenn Cook after the final buzzer sounded, talked with teammates and spent time with her parents.

“It was a tough night,” Cook said. “She’s just an amazing kid, and it’s been fun over the last four seasons to see what she’s capable of.”

Stuart joined the Lumberjacks varsity team as a freshman and took over the starting point guard spot the next year. Since then, she has been a steady presence. She has drawn praise from her coaches for working hard and for being a good role model as a team leader. She can often be seen on the court encouraging teammates after mistakes, helping the younger, less experienced players get through their growing pains.

She gave a lot of credit to Cook for her successes.

“I want to thank coach for everything she’s done,” said Stuart, who also praised her parents and teammates. “I wouldn’t be here looking for colleges (to play at) without her.”

Stuart, who went into Monday averaging 19 points per game, is being recruited by several Division III colleges for basketball and is expected to pick one in the near future.

Against Colton, Stuart started strong with 11 points in the first quarter. She had 19 by halftime, outscoring the entire Colts’ team in the half as Tupper Lake led 25-12 at intermission.

Stuart’s points came in a variety of ways. The senior point guard hit jumpers from the top of the key, runners in the lane and breakaway layups.

“On paper, it was a game we had to win,” Stuart said. “Everyone played good.”

Lumberjacks junior Lizzie Zurek had a strong game in the paint. She only had two points, but grabbed 11 rebounds and had five assists and four steals.

Stuart said that her and Zurek have been working together to get the team ready for the playoffs. The Lumberjacks will likely need some of the younger players to step up and make some baskets if they want to advance deep into the postseason.

Colton was led by Kylie McKinley and Morgan Doyle, who each scored 12 points.

The Lumberjacks improved to 10-7 with the win and have only one more regular season game left. They play at Brushton-Moira Thursday.