Lady Lakers topple Pioneers

Lady Lakers topple Pioneers
The Lakeland women's basketball team avenged their only loss of the season in an exciting 75-70 victory over the Delta College Pioneers in Saginaw,MI. With the victory, the Lakers improve to 10-1 on the season. This was a similar game to the last time they played as it was close throughout and featured 15 lead changes. In the first quarter, the Lakers were led by Gianna Pegoraro as she scored 9 of the Lakers 21 points. She scored the Lakers first points with a 3 pointer as well as two traditional 3 point plays during the quarter. A key time in the quarter was when Lakeland outscored the Pioneers 9-3 in a two minute stretch when Julie Hajdu and Dior Morgan each hit a 3 pointer around the second of Pegoraro's three pointers. That surge put the Lakers up 19-14 and enabled them to finish with a first quarter lead. The second quarter was also very even. Makayla Cooper had several key plays during the period including a stretch where she had a nice assist to Triniti Lee followed by a steal and a lay-up to again build the lead to 4 points.   Armani Jackson also had a 4 points and a steal in the quarter. The Lakers went into the break with a 41-40 lead which was a positive sign as several players were in foul trouble.
The third quarter started with the Lakers on a 6-0 run to give them 47-40 lead. However, the momentum quickly changed as there were several calls that did not go Lakers way. This put Lakeland in a position where they had to play a bit softer defense to protect the team from more fouls. This shift allowed the Pioneers to storm all the way back and take the lead by 3 before a
Cooper 3 pointer tied it at 57 after 3 quarters. The 4th quarter again started with a little Lakers run as Pegoraro started the quarter with a steal and a lay-up.  After Delta tied it, Rayonna Peterson scored
on a lay-up.  After strong defense forced a turn-over, Cooper hit two free throws to give Lakeland a 4 point cushion. Cooper then stole the ball and made a nice pass for a Peterson lay-up as the lead grew to 65-59.  The rest of the game saw Delta cut the lead to 3, but never any closer. In the last minute, Lakeland's Cooper hit two free throws to seal the game.
Lakeland finished with five players in double figures as Armani Jackson led all scorers with 17 points, Cooper and Peterson each scored 14 points, Pegoraro added 11 points, and Jajdu chipped in 10 points. 
Player's Perspectives:
       Julie Hajdu - "Overall, this was a good game offensively. Defensively it was a little rough as we had some communication errors as a team. This was a good victory since we lost to them         early - good feeling to get the win."
       Gianna Pegoraro - "This was a pretty fast paced game. We really had to pick up our energy. We did well sticking with them defensively."
       Makayla Cooper - "This was a big game for us. I'm just happy we pulled it together and beat them by more than what they beat us last time." On the key free throws down the stretch,           "I'm not the strongest free throw shooter, but being able to hit them was big for me and the team. I was really proud of how our team kept our heads through the adversity throughout          the game."
       Rayonna Peterson - "I'm glad we won. I feel like we all played well together. We didn't let the calls and the turnovers get in our head. We were able to finish around the rim and I
       thought we had a good transition offense."
Gardy's Gab: "Gianna came out with a lot of energy. It was a tough win. They had a lot of confidence against us. We needed this game and win as it was a gritty game for us.  We've had some blowouts lately and so it was good to be in a game where we were really challenged. Our size inside gave them some problems and we were able to produce a really balanced effort. We need to turn the page now and get ready for Schoolcraft tomorrow."
Next up: The Lakers will play Schoolcraft College tomorrow at 11 am at Delta College. On Thursday, December 19, the Lady Lakers will play host to the St. Clair County Skippers at 5:30 pm. Admission is free.