February 22, 2012 - By Joe St. Henry
Junior Emilie Kipp keeps the ball inbounds for Lake Orion against Harrison. Photo by J. St. Henry (click for larger version)
Special Writer for The Review
Teenagers: they do not always listen, including on the basketball court.
Lake Orion girls' coach Steve Roberts was reminded of this last week, when the Lady Dragons played Troy on Feb 12.
The coaches were familiar with the Colts penchant for bringing heavy defensive pressure on their opponent's guards right away. Roberts stressed this before tipoff and devised a strategy for the team to react and break the press.
But the girls immediately struggled with Troy's defensive scheme, with players spread all over the floor and out-of-position to help the guards with the pressure. Recognizing his thoughts must have gone unheard, Roberts was forced to call a timeout 30 seconds into the game.
He sat his team down and reviewed once again what had to be done. This time the team listened. Working together, the Lady Dragons broke the pressure and scored 15 fast-break points over the course of the game, en route to a 48-46 OAA crossover win over the Colts.
"Once we settled down, I think we handled their pressure pretty well," Roberts said. "The kids are making better choices with the ball.
"We scored some transition points and shot nearly 50 percent from the floor."
Another key to the victory was the team's own defensive play. Roberts said Troy's top scorer had nine points at the half, but she only scored two the rest of the game, thanks in large part to switching Lake Orion junior Melanie Heath on her.
"Defensively, Mel can be pretty intimidating with her size and quickness," the coach said. "She forces players to alter their shots, or not take them at all."
The Lady Dragons enjoyed one of their most balanced scoring nights of the season. Sophomore Nicole Krier had 15 points, freshman Hannah Hamay 12, Heath 11 and senior Marisa Secontine 8.
Last Thursday, Lake Orion won its sixth game in a row with a 37-27 victory over Farmington Hills Harrison.
This time, Secontine dominated the scoring with a double-double performance of 17 points and 13 rebounds. Krier finished with nine points.
"Marisa has a really nice inside-outside game," Roberts said. "She also handles the ball for us to reduce pressure. What can I say, she is a steady performer every night."
After falling behind 8-2, Secontine entered the game and the team responded. The Lady Dragons fought back and were down by only one point by halftime.
Once again, Roberts put Heath on the opponent's leading scorer to slow her down. Heath also used her size to break the Hawks' press and find open players.
"With her height, she does a good job looking down the court, allowing us to put our other guards (Krier and Hamay) on the wings and in scoring position," the coach said. "She also finds our big players underneath for easy baskets."
In what is becoming second-nature, Lake Orion outscored Harrison 21-10 in the second half, including a number of clutch free throws, en route to the win. Junior Emilie Kipp came up with a couple big blocks down the stretch to seal the game, the coach said.
Thanks to Farmington's upset of Rochester Adams last week, Lake Orion had the opportunity to tie for first place in the OAA White division on Tuesday with a home win over the Highlanders.