By Race Archibald
Lake Land outscored Olney Central 40-19 combined in the first and fourth quarters to improve to 2-0 with a 75-58 win Monday night at Laker Fieldhouse in Mattoon.
The No. 10-ranked Lakers (2-0) jumped out to a 26-8 lead after the first quarter with Abby Weis hitting all four of her 3-point attempts to build a lead Lake Land would not give up.
Olney Central (0-1) would not go down easily, outscoring the Lakers 39-34 in the middle two quarters, and cutting the deficit 53-46 at the 2:25 mark in the third quarter.
“Harley Barry got in foul trouble, and we needed her on the floor,” Lake Land coach Dave Johnson said. “She is a big key for us offensively. Defensively, we stopped with our plan of cutting the angles off, and we let them get deep inside.”
This was also a stretch where Weis scored only seven points against a tighter defense.
“They started to focus more on guarding our flare screens,” Weis said. “As a team, we adjusted to that and started to go for more drives or kicking it to others who hit shots.”
Knights guard Macy Robbins scored all 13 of her team-high points in the two middle quarters, including three 3-pointers.
Olney Central’s comeback attempt was fueled by forced turnovers, strong defense, and an energetic bench. The Knights’ bench was constantly encouraging teammates, yelling out defensive assignments, and began to impact the game in a positive way for the visitors.
“You could see the panic on the floor,” Weis said. “We started to get jumpy. We needed to remain calm and know that we know what we’re doing on the court.”
Lake Land would eventually settle in for the final quarter led by a pair of 3-pointers from Weis, who finished with a game-high 25 points.
“We’re more cerebral (than energetic),” Johnson said. “A little more quiet and do their business. You can’t force the energy. As long as we play with energy on the court, I’m fine with that.”
Kamaria Gant was the only other Laker to score in double-figures, with 12, making 7-of-8 from the free-throw line
Three other Knights, Naira Reed, Daija Snipes, and Arianna Silva, scored in double figures.
The Lakers will travel to play Shawnee Community College on Wednesday.