Central Lyon extended its record-setting season with a quarterfinal win in their first State Tournament appearance Monday afternoon. The top-ranked Lions now 24-2 recovered from a slow start to beat Earlham 67-43 and advance to the Class 1A semifinals. In a 10am semi Thursday morning the Lions will go against a 22-3 Burlington Notre Dame squad who eliminated Colo Nesco in another quarterfinal.
Lexi Ackerman, one of the state’s most versatile players, scored 25 points and grabbed 16 rebounds to lead Central Lyon. Ackerman had a double-double by halftime, when she had 16 points and 10 rebounds. Ackerman’s twin sister Kelsey added 12 points to join her in double figures.
Central Lyon trailed 19-10 in the first quarter before turning things around. The Lions trimmed the lead to 19-17 by the end of the quarter, then outscored the unranked Cardinals 20-5 in the second quarter to build a 37-24 halftime lead.
Earlham’s Abbey Murphy scored on a follow shot to open the second half, but Central Lyon answered with six points in 27 seconds to stifle any Earlham comeback hopes.
Murphy led Earlham with 10 points and 13 rebounds. Four different players scored in helping Earlham take its early lead. But Central Lyon held the Cardinals to just two baskets in the second quarter and took control behind Lexi Ackerman, who scored 12 points in the quarter, including a pair of 3-pointers, a spinning drive into the lane and a put back.
Earlham, which made it to state for the first time since 1981, finished 16-10.