Story and photo by Race Archibald

Lake Land had its best defensive game of the season.

But that wasn’t enough to defeat Shawnee on Monday night in a 77-70 loss to Shawnee

Coach Julian Larry deployed a 3-2 zone defense which gave Shawnee (1-3) fits all night, holding the visitors to a Laker season-low 77 points. However, this zone allowed many second-chance opportunities in terms of offensive rebounds for the Saints. 

Shawnee forward JaQuon Tyus led the way for his team at the half with seven points, and he also established his presence in the paint, providing many second opportunities for the Saints.

Neither team separated from each other until the end of the first half, when Shawnee went on a 14-4 run and took a 33-28 lead.

The stingy Lake Land (2-5) defense wouldn’t let the lead grow to more than 12 throughout the game, but were unable to score much themselves in scoring a season-low 70 points.

Laker guards Leroy Walker and Everett Stubblefield were bright spots on offense for Lake Land, with Walker scoring 22 off the bench and Stubblefield adding 17.

Only 11 3-pointers were made between the two teams as both teams looked to score inside to combat the constant pressure on the perimeter.

The Lakers pulled within 48-44 midway through the second half, but another strong run from Shawnee, this time a 9-2 run, gave them a 57-46 lead.

Five different Saints scored in double figures, led by guard Ryan Gordan with 14. 

The Lakers have lost five of their last six since winning their opening game over Kankakee. They next play at Lewis & Clark College on Wednesday.