Story and photos by Chet Piotrowski Jr.
Lake Land women’s coach Dave Johnson has been frustrated with his team’s inconsistent approach to games as of late. They brought the energy and them some as the Lakers defeated John Wood Community College 67-48, going to 19-5 on the season.
“That’s been one of the things we’ve worked on since Lincoln Land,” Johnson said. “I think they learned from Lincoln Land that you can’t just show up. You can’t be flat. You have to play with energy. We struggled with our shot early but we played defense. That kept us going for the first five minutes until we got it going offensively.”
Johnson has been on his team to be more consistent on the fast break to open up their offense. The Lakers took a 16-7 first quarter lead and increased it to 11, 33-22 at the half, as five players scored in the second quarter.
“Im slowly winning – I’m slowly winning that battle,” he said. “ It’s not so much the initial. It’s the scramble off the reversal we’re looking for. We shoot a ton of threes and that gives us really good opportunities to shoot threes.
Sophomore Taylor Orris provided that extra second half spark helping the Lakers continue their push against the Blazers.
Orris took a pass down at the post, held the ball back drawing a foul from John Wood’s Mykaela Elliott, before taking a clean shot that barely missed going in. Orris made one of two free throws putting Lake Land up 41-28.
While Orris’ game time was limited to a short period in the third contributing just the one point, she came off the court to a congratulatory bench.
“Taylor is a kid who comes every day and works and plays hard in practice,” Johnson said. “She’s ready for her shot. She’s ready when her time is called. That’s a great value to a coach.”
Johnson said the Lakers’ goal is to win the conference and get ‘battle-tested’ for the postseason. To do that, he wants his squad to be challenged.
“That’s a goal of ours,” he said. “So that’s number 1. We have a big non-conference game at North Central who’s a top 20 team. We just want to get battle-tested before going into the region. We want to be able to handle tough games and handle different styles. That’s what we’re looking to do.”
The Lakers have five games remaining with contests against ICC Wednesday, at North Central College on the 25th, and finishing the season at home again rival, Parkland.
“Parkland at home will be a battle,” he said. “At ICC will be a battle, after we beat them here. They’ll be ready for us for sure.”
It’ll be a ‘Can we put together three games in row?’ We definitely played well today. It’s that step that you have to put games together in a row to make a run in the postseason.”
JOHN WOOD – Pohlmann 2 4-5 8, Rittenhouse 4 0-0 12, McFerrin 4 1-2 9, Elliott 2 3-4 7. Diousse 4 1-9, Walker 1 1-2 3. 3-pointers: Rittenhouse 4. Totals: 16 10-14 48.
LAKE LAND – Frederick 1 0-2 3, Littleton 4 2-3 12, Niemerg 4 2-2 10, Hardiek 1 1-2 3, Custis 2 2-2 7, Watson 3 0-0 8, Niebrugge 4 3-3 14, Russo 3 0-0 6, Orris 0 1-2 1, Wade 1 0-0 3. 3-pointers: Frederick 1, Littleton 2, Custis 1, Watson 2, Niebrugge 3, Wade. Totals: 23 11-16 67.