The NJCAA's 13th ranked Lady Lakers basketball team improved to 14-1 on the season with a hard fought 75-70 victory over the Sinclair Community College Tartans in Dayton on Saturday. The Lakers got off to a tough start in the first half after the long trip. They did not have quite their normal energy level and missed several scoring opportunities within close range of the basket. The Tartans came out with a lot of energy and intensity early and took a 1 point lead at the end of the 1st quarter. Lakeland continued to battle though and was able to tie the score at 31 going into the half. Lakeland shot just 23% from the field in the first half and were just 1 for 13 from the arc; however, they were 10 of 13 from the free throw line to help keep the score close.
In the second half, Lakeland started to play more like themselves - albeit after digging themselves into a bit of a hole. In the 3rd quarter, the Lakers trailed by as many as 11 before they started to turn things around. After falling behind, the defensive intensity started to pick up and the Lakers began to take adantage of their scoring opportunities. The turn was triggered by a better defensive effort where Lakeland extended out their pressure to help force Tartan mistakes. Lakeland was able to tie the score at the end of the 3rd quarter at 53 before finishing off the Tartans in the 4th quarter. In the second half, Lakeland shot 40% from the field. They were still just 1-7 from the arc finishing shooting a difficult 10% from that range. For one of the few times the entire season, the Lakers were beaten on the boards falling by a 61-58 margin in the game.
Lakeland was led by Armani Jackson's 33 points and 16 rebounds. Makayla Cooper also had a strong game finishing with 19 points - all of them in the 2nd half. Rayonna Peterson had a double double scoring 14 points and grabbing 13 rebounds. Gianna Pegoraro also had a solid game scoring 9 points and collecting 9 rebounds.
Gardy's Gab: "This was a good win for us - beating Sinclair at their place is always a difficult task. We have to begin to understand that we are no longer the hunter; we are the hunted by our league opponents. That means that we have to come out with more energy and intensity right from the start. This is something we need to work on and we will get on that starting Monday."
Next up: The Lakers are home the next two Wednesday's as they play host to Lorain County CC on 1/15 before hosting Cuyahoga CC on 1/22. Both contests are scheduled to tip at 5:30 pm. Admission is free.