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PREP GIRLS BASKETBALL: Setting the tempo

Lakers control pace in 66-40 victory over Pipestone Area

Photo by Jake Przytarski Lakeview’s Shelby Gravley puts up a shot during their game against Pipestone Area on Tuesday. The Lakers defeated the Arrows 66-40.

COTTONWOOD — With only one loss in eight games played since the start of the new year, the Lakeview girls basketball team has seen their stout play on both ends of the floor rewarded with a seven-game winning streak that they hoped to maintain in Tuesday’s non-conference matchup against Pipestone Area.

Led by double-digit scoring performances from Savanna Louwagie, Aubrey Kaczmarek and Shelby Gravley, the Lakers got the job done in convincing fashion with a 66-40 throttling of the visiting Arrows to notch their eight consecutive victory.

Coach Mike Imes called the performance one of his team’s best all season and identified their strong ball movement as the key to their overwhelming success offensively.

“I thought we really had some good ball movement,” said coach Imes. “I thought we had a nice flow to our offense. We were able to get everybody involved early. Savanna Louwagie hit some big threes right away and Kiana (Imes) hit a big three initially and then once we did that, that opened up the inside for Kaczmarek, Gravley and Bot. I thought our offensive flow was probably the best its been all season as far as just making sure everyone got touches and good looks and we shot very confidently here. I would say (Tuesday) was one of our best all around games.”

With a smothering defensive effort combined with a well-balanced inside-outside offensive attack, the Lakers jumped all over Pipestone right from the opening tip and immediately established control of the game. Reaping the benefits of their stellar play, Lakeview never trailed in the contest and opened up the game with a 13-6 lead led by Gravely’s six points in the opening minutes of play.

Keeping their foot on the gas, the Lakers put together one of their best stretches on both ends of the floor midway through the half by outscoring the Arrows 19-4 to take a 32-10 lead following one of Louwagie’s five made three-point shots. Pipestone managed to battle back late by keeping pace down the stretch, but still trailed Lakeview 38-20 at the half.

Coach Imes praised his team for their shutdown defensive effort that culminated in limiting Pipestone’s best scorer Zoe Velde to only three points, and the offense as a whole to a meager 20 points.

“I thought we played great defensively,” said coach Imes. “We held Pipestone to 20 points in the first half and we held Zoe Velde to three points (overall). She’s a stud player and she’s a great athlete. She had that one three right at the end of the first half but otherwise we held her scoreless and that’s team defense.”

Out of the break, the Arrows did their best to chip away at the deficit by attempting numerous three-point shots that proved effective early on in making it a 14-point game at 40-26. With a timeout, coach Imes made the necessary defensive adjustments to close the door on Pipestone’s comeback attempt and put the Lakers back in control.

“They ended up putting Velde at the high post and she didn’t get any shots out of it but she did a good job of facilitating. They did hit a couple of threes in the corner on us so that forced us to go man for three-four possessions just to try to get our feet back and running,” said coach Imes. “Once we were able to do that I thought then our zone started moving a little bit better.”

Shrugging off the short-lived surge, the Lakers picked up where they left off in the first half by going on a 12-4 run to extend their lead to 22 at 52-30. With a comfortable lead in hand and the Arrows unable to contain them, the Lakers cruised to a 66-40 victory.

The Lakers (13-3) will be back on their home court on Thursday when they host Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg for a Camden Conference matchup at 7:15 p.m. Lakeview is currently in second place behind Minneota in the Camden Conference South standings with an 8-2 record.

In order to continue their dominant run, coach Imes wants the team to continue to do the things that have made them so successful throughout the season by playing as a team and embracing their roles.

“The focus all season is team-work and togetherness. We’re not a very good team if we turn into individuals and try to do selfish things, but I think this group does a great job of keeping everybody involved,” said coach Imes. “We have a different leading scorer most nights. They all have specific roles on the team. Some are more defensive, some are more offensive, but when we play together as a team we’ve got some really good high end talent. I think the kids are really starting to believe in what our capabilities are.”

Lakeview 66, Pipestone 40

Lakeview 38 28 — 66

Pipestone 20 20 — 40

Overall FG percentage: Lakeview 54% (28-52); Pipestone 27% (15-55)

INDIVIDUAL LEADERS

SCORING: Lakeview (Louwagie 22, Gravley 16, Kaczmarek 14, Imes 7).

REBOUNDING: Lakeview (Gravley, Kaczmarek 9, Bot 7, Imes 5).

ASSISTS: Lakeview (Imes 8, Kaczmarek 5, Hubbard 4, Gravley 3).

BLOCKS: Lakeview (Gravley 3, Louwagie 1).

STEALS: Lakeview (Bot 4, Imes, Louwagie 2).

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