SKANEATELES — With a one-point lead at halftime, Camille Murphy challenged her team.

The Skaneateles coach believed her team wasn't giving their best effort on the defensive side of the ball, and wanted that to change.

Her team responded.

The Lakers went on a 15-2 run to start the second half to take a commanding lead and fended off the Mustangs in the fourth quarter, as the Skaneateles girls basketball team beat Marcellus, 53-43, at Skaneateles High School Thursday.

"I told them to pick up their intensity, get down in their stance and play defense," Murphy said. "I think in the very beginning of the game — because we're a little bit more athletic and a little bit quicker and faster — that they felt they could be lazy. We started picking up fouls, they started driving past us for layups and then they started hitting jump shots.

"I told them 'Your effort dictates what's going to happen in the next quarter.' ... I challenged them and said 'I don't want them to score and you need to put buckets on the board.' They rose to the challenge."

Olivia Dobrovosky and Olivia Navaroli each scored 11 points to lead the Lakers' offense. Ryley Pas'cal added eight points, Julia Cirincione chipped in seven points and Chloe Metz finished with six points.

For Murphy, her offensive depth is key. If someone is struggling, another player steps in.

"It's always about how you can make the person next to you better," Murphy said. "You can be a great player, but you need to be a really great teammate. That's part of the emphasis on this season, especially having a big team. You may not have a great night offensively, but you can rebound and cheer for your teammates."

Dobrovosky recorded five of her points in the first quarter to give the Lakers a 7-6 lead after the first eight minutes. All seven of Skaneateles' points came from the free-throw line.

"Foul shots are super important," Murphy said. "We work on that in practice a lot. I run them to death and then I put them on the line."

The teams went bucket-for-bucket in the second quarter, and Skaneateles held a 15-14 lead at the break. After Murphy's halftime talk, the Lakers surged in the third quarter.

Led by Navaroli's nine third-quarter points, Skaneateles scored 15 of the first 17 points and outscored Marcellus 23-8 in the frame.

With a 15-point lead heading into the final frame, the Lakers kept a double-digit lead throughout most of the fourth quarter on the way to the win.

Skaneateles (2-0) travels to Jordan-Elbridge Wednesday. Murphy is confident in her team's defense early in the season, and hopes the offensive side continues to show progress.

"We'll definitely be good defensively, we'll definitely hustle and get up and down the floor, and we'll be tough," Murphy said. "Those three things we will do. Offensively, we'll work it out as we go."

Sports writer Jeremy Houghtaling can be reached at 315-282-2256 or at jeremy.houghtaling@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter @CitizenHough.

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