December 21, 2011 - By Joe St. Henry
Sophomore guard Nicole Krier (24) is getting plenty of playing time this season. Photo by J. St. Henry (click for larger version)
Coach Steve Roberts celebrated his 150th win as the Lake Orion High School girls' varsity basketball coach last Friday with a 37-28 victory over Rochester.
Roberts is now the school's all-time winningest basketball coach – girls or boys – a feat achieved over 13 seasons at the helm of the Lady Dragons' program.
"I guess it's ingrained in me," he said about his longevity. "There's just this desire to coach basketball and I really enjoy it."
The league win over the Falcons was Lake Orion's third in a row and bumped their record to 4-2 (2-0 OAA White). Earlier last week, the team defeated Troy Athens on the road, 34-21. Notre Dame Prep was the team's first victim in the streak, with Lake Orion winning 45-32.
"If you look at our schedule, I think we're all pleased with our record going into the break, especially considering we have four key senior players out, two of whom are three-year varsity starters," he said, noting the team is winning with eight active players.
Roberts said the small roster has forced the team to adjust its practices, since the team cannot scrimmage 5 vs. 5. This has enabled the coaches to teach more through breakdown drills, he added.
Against Rochester, the coach said the team moved the ball well and managed the clock effectively during the low scoring game. Lake Orion held a 13-8 lead at half. Its second-half strategy was to keep the ball away from the Falcons, be patient on offense and find good shots. Lake Orion did just that, outscoring Rochester 13-2 in the third quarter and putting the game away.
"The girls followed our game plan (against Rochester), which allowed the coaches to make adjustments to our offense and defense," Roberts said.
Senior Marisa Secontine led the team with 14 points and eight rebounds. Her classmate Laura Turnbull scored 11 points with six rebounds. Freshman Hannah Hamay scored seven points, while senior Emilie Kipp grabbed eight boards. (Secontine led the team in scoring against Troy Athens, too, putting up 15 points in the win over the Red Hawks.)
In addition to the play of his starters, the head coach also has been pleased with his bench players during the three-game streak, noting the strong play of junior Melanie Heath, sophomore Melanie Gagan and freshman Megan Hall.
"They're contributing good, quality minutes," he said. "When they see the floor, they're bringing energy, hustling, making solid plays, protecting the ball and rebounding."
Roberts also noted that the team has dominated on rebounds and cut down its turnovers in recent weeks. When it has lost the ball, Lake Orion has done a good job getting back on defense to stop many conversion baskets, he said.
During the holiday break, the team will be scrimmaging against a couple other schools and working on its ability to break pressure defenses – plus work on its own press defesnse, Roberts said.
In early January, the Lady Dragons play Birmingham Groves, Farmington and Farmington Hills Harrison.