By Pilar Barrio

Lake Land could not have asked for a better return to basketball. 

The No. 10 Lakers led throughout in a victory over Lincoln Trail 72-62 at the Fieldhouse on Saturday in their first game back since March. 

Last year, the Lakers were ranked No. 4 going into the national tournament when the season got cancelled due to the pandemic. Almost 10 months later and after losing All-American Carysn Fearday, the Lakers have extended their winning streak to nine games stretching to last season. 

“I told my wife last night that it feels like my very first year again. The excitement to get to play,” said Lake Land coach Dave Johnson, who is actually in his 23rd season. “I know the girls were super excited to play.” 

Possibly because of that excitement, both teams committed several turnovers and fouls early in the games. 

Despite those errors, the Lakers have a lot of reasons to be happy. Lincoln Trail was not able to deal with the Lakers’ aggressiveness at the rim.

And sophomore Abby Weis (below) led all scorers with 22 points.

The Lakers, ahead by four points, struggled to start the second quarter – scoring only three points the next 6 minutes before powering to a 10-1 run for a 30-17 lead. Lincoln Trail was able to reduce the deficit to nine points at the end of the third quarter, but a 6-0 run from the Lakers made it 57-42 with nine minutes left in the game, a lead they never relinquished.

Johnson, aware that COVID-19 protocols could mean players might miss some games, employed his full roster. Many players were on the court for eight-plus minutes. The bench combined for 24 points. 

“I think being ranked 10 is great for the players because they deserve it,” said Johnson. “It is obviously great for our program because it helps in our recruiting.” 

Lake Land will play host to Olney Central College at 5:30 p.m. on Monday.