A burst late in the second quarter carries over in an easy victory

by: MATTHEW SHERMAN - Maddie Rabing puts up a shot after pulling down an offensive rebound in Tuesday's victory over South Albany.The Lakeridge girls basketball team is slowly starting to find its shooting touch. As the Pacers knew going into the season, they would likely live and die by the outside shot this season.

But Lakeridge got off to a 1-3 start and failed to shoot at a high percentage in those three losses.

“All three of those losses were winnable games and we didn't feel like we'd played that well,” coach Kevin Berry said.

It was more of the same Tuesday in the first half against South Albany. Natalie Bristol scored on a driving lay-up on the Pacers' first possession, but that was all of the offense in the game for the next six minutes.

But that 2-0 lead would hold up. Lakeridge played solid defense, forcing turnovers in the back-court and rebounding well as to not give up second-chance opportunities.

Still, the team could not get a jump-shot to fall. Finally, with 1:32 left in the first quarter, Sydney Lautze broke the drought with a bucket and Lakeridge would lead 6-0 after the opening period.

South Albany wouldn't get on the board until 5:42 left in the half on a free throw.

But, late in the second quarter, the Pacers finally started to show some life on offense. Colleen Ellis and Hope Daskalos knocked down back-to-back 3-pointers and Ellis would add another from behind the arc to bump the lead.

“We have been focusing on what kind of outside shots we're taking and getting higher quality looks,” Berry said.

Lautze would then tally a steal and a bucket and Sammy Danchok would bury a three in the final seconds as the Pacers built a 22-5 halftime advantage.

Lakeridge, despite being undersized, out-hustled South Albany in the game and held a big advantage on the boards.

“We've been focusing on getting four girls to go to the offensive glass. We like to get those second and third opportunities and on Tuesday we were getting fourth and fifth opportunities,” Berry said.

The late first-half flurry would give the team confidence heading into the locker room. The Pacers' defense remained steady and the team didn't let South Albany ever get comfortable and held the visitors to just 19 points in the game.

“We know our shots will come and go but good defense can always be there,” Berry said.

Lakeridge got everyone in on the action on the offensive side of the ball with 10 different players scoring.

“These girls couldn't care less about their individual stats which is great to see,” Berry said.

The Pacers rolled 52-19 and will face Jefferson Friday. Over the break, Lakeridge will play Marist, Century and Hillsboro at the Hillsboro Tournament.

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