By KEVIN THOMPSON
SUBLETTE — A week ago, Sublette coach Monty Marlin was left scratching his head after his Lady Larks dropped two games at the Cimarron Bluejay Invitational.
One week later, he's breathing a little easier after seeing his team come back with two solid wins, the latest a 46-38 win over Hi-Plains League and Haskell County rival Satanta.
It was an early Christmas gift for the coach as his girls are now 4-2 and seem to have figured out a lot in such a short time.
"This is a big win for us," Marlin said. "It kind of shows me what we're capable of doing. We're starting to see what we're really capable of doing."
With Satanta playing most of the night without standout Kelsey Blair due to an ankle injury, the Larks weren't about to pass up the opportunity to take advantage.
After the Lady Indians took a quick 4-0 lead, Sublette laid on the fullcourt press, and a solid zone defense that clogged the lane and forced the action outside.
Katelyn Marlin hit two of her four three-pointers in the opening quarter and Anna Messerly added another as the Larks took a 13-8 lead at the break.
Then they mixed in a couple of buckets from Daryan Whaler under the basket and threw in two more three's to maintain that lead at halftime.
Satanta tied the game right out of the break after a free throw by Stephanie Caro, a field goal by Allee Young and a layup off a steal from Kristy Blair.
Messerly hit another three to get the lead back, then Aubree Young took it back with consecutive field goals.
Unfortunately, they would go on an eight-minute scoring drought while the Larks turned into sharks and went on the attack.
Marlin scored five points from the perimeter while Whaler and fellow post Emily Meyer combined for nine, and the Larks were up 41-31 with 2:41 to play.
But the Lady Indians weren't ready to surrender just yet.
Young hit four straight free throws and Caro bagged another three to pull the Indians to within three with 1:45 remaining.
Coach Marlin called a timeout, got things straightened out, and his girls shut out Satanta the rest of the way.
"This was about as well as we could play, at least up to this point," coach Marlin said. "That's 32 minutes for us of pretty solid basketball."
Defensively, he said they had a couple of lapses that allowed Satanta to take the lead once and narrow the gap a couple of times.
"We didn't finish it very strong. I'd have felt more comfortable if we had been a little better at the free throw line down the stretch," he noted, as his team missed five in a row after Satanta scored its final goal."
This game showed the strength of his inside game with Whaler (6-3) and Meyer (5-9) both scoring 10 points each and pulling down 13 boards between them.
"They played really well inside," he said. "That lineup we had with both of them on the floor at the same time was pretty solid. It gave us a way to go down low on either side."
Whaler said the key to her team's play of late has been unity.
"Our keys have been playing hard, playing together, trying to move the ball inside and outside, doing everything we can," she said.
Being 4-2 going into the break and beating Satanta (also 4-2 after having lost on Tuesday to Southwestern Heights), albeit minus Kelsey Blair, she said has given them confidence.
"It puts us on sort of a high right now," she said. "Satanta didn't have Kelsey, but they played hard. We like to think we played a little harder."
For coach Mike Heater of Satanta, not having Kelsey Blair in the flow of the game affected his team.
"She really makes our team go, and you can tell tonight we struggled for an identity," he said. "With her out, we're more one dimensional and shoot a lot of three's."
About a fourth of Satanta's shots were launched from beyond the arc, but only four of those hit their target.
Marlin led Sublette with 14 points and eight rebounds, while Young had 13 points and 10 boards.
Both teams are off until January.
Satanta 8 11 9 10 -- 38
Sublette 13 11 9 13 -- 46
Satanta (4-2) — Long 1 0-0 2, All. Young 1 0-0 2, Kr. Blair 2 0-0 5, Caro 4 2-6 13, Gonzalez 1 1-2 3, Aub. Young 3 7-8 13. Totals 12 10-16 38.
Sublette (4-2) — Marlin 5 0-1 14, Hibbard 0 2-3 2, Messerly 3 0-2 9, Miller 0 1-2 1, E. Meyer 3 4-7 10, Whaler 4 2-3 10. Totals 15 9-18 46.
3-point goals — Satanta 4 (Kr. Blair 1, Caro 3), Sublette 7 (Marlin 4, Messerly 3). Rebounds — Satanta 24 (Au. Young 10), Sublette 30 (Marlin 8, Whaler 7). Turnovers — Satanta 13, Sublette 21.