MATTOON — There was no letdown for the Lake Land women’s basketball team on Saturday against Rend Lake.
Even though Rend Lake came in with a 1-7 Great Rivers Athletic Conference record, the Warriors were coming off a victory where they scored 100 points.
Lake Land was coming off a road win where the Lady Lakers upset an Olney Central College team that only had one loss in the GRAC. Plus Lake Land has an uncharacteristic 6-6 record at Laker Field House this season.
But Lake Land came out strong right away with 22 points in the first quarter. The Lady Lakers kept their focus and went on to beat Rend Lake 82-57 on Saturday.
"I think we are getting better at playing 40 minutes. You hear us say, 'Win all four' when we break the huddle, and that obviously means win all four quarters — and we did that today," Lake Land coach Dave Johnson said. "We also have the goal of holding teams under 15 points a quarter because that's the magic number of 60, and we did that three of four quarters.
"Mentally, our approach is getting better. People can say they want the physical skills, but there's a lot that has to do with the mental skills in athletics, too. I see ours starting to improve."
Johnson thinks the mental approach is the reason Lake Land (14-7, 5-4) was 6-6 at home coming into the game, because the Lady Lakers had seven road wins and only one loss. Lake Land went above .500 at home with Saturday's win.
"We talked about that on Thursday as we got ready for this game. Look at our record on the road, and look at it at home, and (you) gotta understand we beat Parkland on the road, a ranked Moraine Valley on the road, and we beat Olney, a 7-1 conference team, on the road," Johnson said. "Those are three quality wins, and you can have those same wins at home if you apply the same focus and effort. I think we made a move toward that."
The one thing Johnson thought the team could've done better was get to the free-throw line. Rend Lake (5-11, 1-8) was 10-of-18 from the free-throw line compared to 10-of-13 for Lake Land.
"That's a big thing with us. We had the same amount of makes, but we like to shoot more free throws than our opponents attempt," Johnson said.
Avery Jackson led Lake Land with 19 points and hit three 3-pointers. Jamie Sandschafer had 16 points and Aislinn Parish had 11 points and four assists off the bench.
Lake Land's next game is Saturday, Feb. 3, at Wabash Valley. The Lady Lakers' next home game is Wednesday, Feb. 7, against Kaskaskia College at 5:30 p.m.
Lake Land got off to a hot start. A 9-2 run put the Lady Lakers up 14-7 and Lake Land scored 22 points in the first quarter for a 22-12 lead.
Rend Lake went on a 13-4 run in the second quarter to cut it to a 30-27 Lake Land lead with 5 minutes left in the half. Lake Land then held Rend Lake to 4 points for the rest of the half. The Lady Lakers went on an 11-2 run and went into halftime with a 45-31 lead.
Jaycie Roy got the Lady Lakers off to a good start in the third quarter, as she scored 10 points in the first 4 minutes as Lake Land went up 54-35. Roy finished with 11 points and seven rebounds in the game.
"She gave us a spark, and nice thing about it was that it was a variety of shots, not just 3s," Johnson said. "She had a reverse layup, a drive and two 3s and 1-of-2 from the free-throw line. That's a positive."
Lake Land kept control of the third quarter and went up 65-45 as the Lady Lakers held Rend Lake to 14 points. In the second half, Lake Land only allowed 26 points and held Rend Lake to 31 percent (9-of-29) shooting.
"Obviously I think we had an advantage with the depth that we have. They didn't really have a lot of depth on the perimeter. They had depth in the post, but not on the perimeter," Johnson said. "I thought that showed in the second half. They had some uncharacteristic turnovers in the second half, and they didn't really get quality shots other than (Brianna Smith)."
Lake Land scored 17 points in the final quarter and went on to win 82-57.
"I think it was a quality effort, and that's back-to-back quality efforts, which is a huge positive for us," Johnson said.