By Race Archibald

Danville was unable to get any offense going.

Every time a player drove inside, a Lake Land defender was in the way, which forced passes back out to reset plays. At other times, Danville could only manage hastily attempted 3-pointers that fell short, long, but rarely in.

Credit Lake Land’s defense that collapsed on anyone who drove the lanes.

Ultimately, Lake Land held Danville to two field goals in the first half for a 67-36 victory in the Region 24 NJCAA Central District quarterfinals Wednesday night at Laker Fieldhouse. 

Lake Land (28-3) advances to play Lincoln Land in the semifinals in Peoria on Friday.

The Lakers defense held Danville scoreless in the first quarter, and to 9 percent on field goals overall in the first half. 

“We haven’t had a defensive quarter like that in a long time,” Lake Land coach David Johnson said.

The Jaguars scored on a pair of free throws early in the second quarter, but did not record a field goal until the 3:08 mark in the quarter. The Lakers led 34-6 at half.

Lake Land’s leading scorer Abby Weis made three 3-pointers in the third quarter to help extend the lead to 45-6 early in the quarter. She finished the game with 15 points.

Lake Land’s Carsyn Fearday steals a pass at midcourt and then hits a running jumper.

Region 24 is one of the toughest in the country, with three teams – No. 5 Lincoln Land, No. 6 Lake Land, and No. 9 Illinois Central – ranked in the top 10. Despite the large lead in Wednesday’s game, Johnson knew his team can’t relax at any point in the postseason.

“We’re trying to play every possession hard and not get casual,” Johnson said. “It’s a mindset that will help you going into the next game.” 

Lake Land held Danville to 24 percent of its field goals on 14-of-57 shooting from the field. The Lakers also dominated in the board, snagging 42 total rebounds to Danville’s 22.

“Lincoln Land is top five in the country for a reason,” Johnson said. “They have a lot of players with experience. We are going to have to guard them well.”