MATTOON — The Lake Land women’s basketball team was coming off back-to-back poor offensive performances. The Lady Lakers scored only 61 points against Wabash Valley and then were held to a season-low 58 points against Lewis & Clark on Saturday.
Lake Land had to turn things around quickly with the second of back-to-back Region 24 opponents coming into town on Wednesday.
Lake Land coach Dave Johnson noticed a change in his team well before Wednesday. On Monday, the team had a different look to it during practice, and it carried over to Wednesday’s home game against Lincoln Land.
The Lady Lakers jumped out to a 13-2 lead and went into halftime up 44-23. Lake Land didn’t let up and snapped a three-game losing streak, as well as a three-game winning streak for Lincoln Land, with a 93-57 win.
“It started in practice on Monday. We had a great practice and then a solid practice on Tuesday and we carried that over,” Johnson said. “Three things that we’ve been focused on, rebounding on both ends of the court, boxing out and chasing balls down. We did a better job of that tonight. Communicating on defense, I thought that’s the best we’ve communicated all year in our matchup.
“Then turning the ball over and for 35 minutes, we did a good job of not turning the ball over, minus the first five minutes of the second half.”
Lake Land improves to 6-4 on the season and 2-2 in Region 24. Lincoln Land is 5-4 overall and 0-1 in Region 24.
The Lady Lakers only hit 10 3-pointers in the past two games, but by halftime, Lake Land hit eight 3s. By the end of the game, Lake Land finished with 14 3-pointers on 35 attempts (40 percent).
Avery Jackson and Jaycie Roy each hit four 3s, Callie Williams had two, and Aislinn Parish, Koty Crowder, Haley Gregg and Mariah Spurgeon each had a bucket from behind the arc.
“The three is equivalent to the men’s dunk,” Johnson said. “It’s an energy giver. When you are making them, you get more energy and more energy. And 21 assists. Anytime you get 20 assists in a game, that’s quality right there.”
Jackson led Lake Land with 25 points, Roy had 14, Williams had 12, Crowder had 11 and Parish had 10 points.
A game after giving up 16 offensive rebounds, Lake Land held Lincoln Land to 26 total rebounds. The Lady Lakers finished with 38 rebounds. Roy led the team with seven boards and Parish, Gabrielle Staub and Zyah Burnette each had six rebounds.
“Everybody (rebounded better),” Johnson said. “I thought Gabrielle chased down balls with more vigor and hustle than she has and we need that. Our forwards are probably not going to score a ton and that’s okay. We will keep developing the offense, and as the season goes on, they will get more opportunities to score.”
The Lady Lakers started the game with five quick points as Jackson scored on a layup, and Crowder completed a three-point play. It sparked a 13-2 run for Lake Land as Jackson had seven points and Crowder had four. Parish had the other two points with two free throws.
Lincoln Land got back-to-back threes to keep the game close at 13-8. Gregg had a good end to the first quarter for Lake Land with two layups and a three to give the Lady Lakers a 20-13 lead going into the second quarter.
“The thing I liked tonight, not a single kid played 25 minutes tonight. Ideally, if we can continue that throughout the season and keep our starters under 30 minutes, that will pay off at the end of the year,” Johnson said. “I thought we didn’t lose a beat when people came in. Haley runs the court well and is an excellent defender and knocks down open shots. You can’t ask for more out of a kid than that.”
Lincoln Land went on a 6-0 run to begin the second quarter to make it a one-point game at 20-19.
Then Jackson and Mariah Spurgeon hit back-to-back 3s, and Staub had a putback to put Lake Land back up 28-19.
Lake Land then stretched the lead out in the final 2:38 of the half with a 13-0 run. Jaycie Roy hit two 3s during the run, and Crowder had a 3 and a layup. Jackson added a layup, and the Lady Lakers went up 44-23 going into halftime.
Lincoln Land took advantage of back-to-back turnovers by Lake Land to start the second half and cut it to 44-27, but Parish and Jackson hit back-to-back 3s to make it 50-27.
Then Lake Land held Lincoln Land scoreless for a 6-minute stretch. During that time, the Lady Lakers went on an 18-0 run for a 71-34 lead.
Lake Land went on to win the game 93-57.