The home GLIAC era ended on a very positive note for the Hillsdale College women's basketball team.
Playing with drive and purpose, particularly in the first and third quarters, the Chargers clinched a winning record for the season with an 88-68 win over Lake Erie College at the Dawn Tibbetts Potter Arena.
Hillsdale is now 14-12 overall and 8-11 in the GLIAC, and wraps up the 2016-17 season at Ohio Dominican Saturday.
Buoyed by the emotions of senior night, the Chargers stormed out of the gate, playing hard and well in building a nine-point lead by the end of the first quarter. Hillsdale led by as many as 11 in the opening quarter before settling for a 27-18 advantage after one.
Lake Erie came back and bogged down the Chargers' offense in the second quarter. Hillsdale scored just two points in the quarter's first seven-plus minutes, and saw its lead melt away. Lake Erie entered halftime with a 39-37 lead. But it was a lead that would be short-lived.
Hillsdale exploded for a season-high 31 points in the third quarter, quickly taking momentum back and running away with the game. Twenty-six of those points came in the paint, as junior center Allier Dittmer became an unstoppable go-to option in the third quarter for Hillsdale.
Dittmer scored 14 of her 16 points in the third quarter, and was on the receiving end of some great passing by her teammates. Dittmer also worked hard to get good post position, making her shot attempts with a low degree of difficulty.
Helping to open up the inside for Dittmer was the dazzling shooting of sophomore forward Makenna Ott. She scored a season-high 20 points on 8-for-13 shooting from the floor, draining four 3-point baskets. In that decisive third quarter, she connected on shots from all angles, teaming up with Dittmer to put Hillsdale in full control.
As they usually do when they're successful, the Chargers dominated the boards, outrebounding Lake Erie 49-27. Hillsdale shot 55 percent from the floor, and made eight 3-point baskets as a team.
Hillsdale outscored Lake Erie 51-29 in the second half.
Senior Morgan Blair, playing on the home floor for the final time, had 9 points, three rebounds and six assists. Junior Maddy Reed came off the bench to hit seven of eight shots from the floor and had 16 to go along with six rebounds in 18 impactful minutes.