January 11, 2012 - By Joe St. Henry
Sophomore Nicole Krier pulls up for a jump shot against Groves last week. Photo by J. St. Henry (click for larger version)
It took the Lake Orion girls' basketball team a quarter to shake off their holiday layoff.
Playing for the first time since mid-December, The Lady Dragons fell behind 8-0 against Groves High School last Thursday, Jan. 5.
Coach Steve Roberts said the slow start was due in large part to Falcons' unexpected "in-your-face" pressure defense, plus his team's sluggish play. He called a timeout to remind them the game was underway.
"I tried to let them work through it, but enough was enough," he said. "During the timeout, I told the girls they weren't moving to the ball - it was time to wake up."
Lake Orion began to break the pressure defense, but Groves was still up by six at the end of the first quarter.
The team's leading scorer, Marissa Secontine, did not start the game due to flu symptoms, but entered the contest to start the second period.
Her presence and outside shooting seemed to provide a spark to the Lady Dragons, but their baskets were matched by the Falcons, who opened up a 19-8 lead midway through the second quarter. Lake Orion, however, finished the half with an 8-4 run to close the gap to 23-16.
During the intermission, Roberts said the team made changes to tighten up its own interior defense. His goal was to force the opponent's guards from working the ball inside for easy baskets, forcing them to shoot outside. The coach also wanted Lake Orion to manage the clock better.
The Lady Dragons did just that, outscoring Groves 15-7 during the third period. Key free throw shooting by Emilie Kipp and Laura Turnbull chipped at the lead. With only 37 seconds left in the quarter, the team patiently ran the clock down and Secontine hit a three-point shot at the buzzer to put Lake Orion up, 31-30.
Roberts said his team continued to manage the clock and protect the ball effectively in the fourth quarter enroute to a 47-39 victory, the team's fourth in a row. Secontine finished with 16 points, sophomore Nicole Krier scored 11, Turnbull 8, junior Melanie Heath 7 and Kipp 5.
Lake Orion is 3-0 in OAA White play, with a 5-2 overall record.
This week, Lake Orion takes on Farmington High School at home on Tuesday, then travels to Harrison on Friday.
Farmington was picked to finish first in the OAA White during the preseason, with the Hawks second. Both teams feature Div. 1 basketball recruits, but Roberts said he thinks they are injured.
"I'm not sure of their status," he said. "But, nevertheless, we'll still have to bring our best game both nights."