Lester's 32 Powers FSW Over Hillsborough

Ashley Lester (Photo by Linwood Ferguson/CaptivePhotons.com)
Ashley Lester (Photo by Linwood Ferguson/CaptivePhotons.com)
FORT MYERS, Fla.- Ashley Lester became the first Buccaneer to top the 30 point mark in nearly three seasons to lead Florida SouthWestern over Hillsborough 87-80 in Citrus Conference action Saturday afternoon in Suncoast Credit Union Arena in Fort Myers. 
The Bucs got off to a good start in their second meeting with the Hawks in the past 10 days as a jumper from Sarah Owona and a three from Ashley Lester had the Purple and Aqua on top 9-5 four and a half minutes into the contest. The Bucs went cold over the next four minutes as Hillsborough erased the FSW lead and took a 12-9 lead of their own, but Roksana Sajdak made sure that was short lived as she came off the Buccaneer bench and nailed a three to tie things back up at 12 with just over a minute left in the first. The teams traded buckets before a late three for Hillsborough gave the Hawks a 17-14 lead at the end of an entertaining first 10 minutes of action. 
Two more Sajdak threes early in the second put the Bucs back in front 22-17 and a triple from Makenna Shaffer gave FSW a nine point lead at 31-22 midway through the quarter.  The Bucs continued to rain in threes from deep as Lester hit another to make it a 12 point game and that is the advantage they would take into the break as FSW went to the locker room on top of Hillsborough 44-32. 
It was more of the same as the second half got under way as Lester drilled her third three of the game to put FSW up 15 early in the third.  But just when the Bucs looked like they were going to run away with it, the Hawks quietly snuck back into the game and a three point play for Hillsborough had them back to within seven at 57-50 with 2:40 to go in the third.  Lester stroked another three to get the Bucs back on track and FSW would go to the fourth leading the Hawks 62-53.  
The Bucs turned up the screws on the defensive end early in the forth as Federica Lagana picked off a pass and turned it the other way before feeding it to Kiana Wilson for an easy two to cushion the lead back to double digits. Hillsborough drew to within seven with 4:00 to go, but back to back offensive rebounds and putbacks from Wilson and Shaffer quickly stretched the lead back to 11 at 79-68 with 3:04 to go. Lester scored the final eight for the Bucs down the stretch, salting the game away as FSW finished off an 87-80 win to kick off their holiday weekend. 
It was an offensive explosion for the Bucs who shot 51% from the field and 42% from distance in a season high 87 point performance.  
Lester finished with 32 points on just 14 field goal attempts becoming the first FSW player to top the 30 point mark since the 2021 season. But Lester wasn't the only Buc to notch a career high in scoring in the win as Wilson's 18 were a career best as were Sajdak's 11 for FSW.  Lagana stuffed the stat sheet for FSW in the win, finishing with 5 points, 6 rebounds, and 6 assists without committing a single turnover in 26 minutes of action. 
FSW improves to 8-6 overall and 4-2 in Citrus Conference play with the win while Hillsborough falls to 6-8 overall and 2-4 in league action.  
The Bucs will have a week off before taking the court again on Saturday, January 20th in St. Petersburg where they will look to take advantage of a struggling Titans team that has lost 12 games in a row.