LAKE TWP.  In a season when plenty of new faces have risen to the top in the Federal League boys basketball race, the Lake Blue Streaks have the player who has arguably made as big of a jump as anyone.

Junior guard Jake Maranville has broken 20 points multiple times and is averaging 15 points per game for a team that is in the thick of the race for the title. His rise from a player scoring just nine points and playing a much smaller role last season traces back to the same place many rising players use to grow and improve their game: summer workouts.

"Over the summer, I thought i needed to get more of a mid-range game and 3-point shot, so I did a lot of off-the-ball work and tried to get quicker," Maranville said. "I had a bunch of guys from my team I worked with and also a trainer I work with, David Lane."

Once the season began, Maranville quickly saw the results of his hard work. Using the ball screens that are a big part of the Lake offense, he was able to find more open looks and after being known largely as a player who scored by attacking the basket, he’s shown the ability to pull up for a jumper or make an open 3-pointer.

That has helped keep defenses honest and made him one of the breakout stars of the league this season. Still, Maranville insists he doesn’t know if he’s really opened many eyes around the league and area with his play.

"Maybe … this year I had a lot of expectations that I needed to be more of threat on offense, but I didn’t really know what other people expected of me," the junior guard said.

He did play significant minutes last season for a Lake team that won a district title, but his playing time has done up this season to the point where he’s on the court for almost the entire game. His play helped make Lake the last team undefeated in league play and although the Blue Streaks have dropped decisions to Jackson and Green since then, they remain in the front of the pack in the league race. McKinley beat Green late last month, dealing Green its second league loss.

With just a few games remaining before the postseason begins, the race remains very much up for grabs, with every team having at least two losses. Maranville likes his team’s chances.

"We need stay focused a need to win out, because Green could lose Jackson or they could beat Jackson and you never know," he said.

Head coach Tom McBride will likely enjoy the first part of that comment because as coaches so often preach, teams can only control how they play and can’t have any effect on the outcomes of other teams’ games. But if Maranville can continue to play like one of the best players in the league and a contender for player of the year honors, it’s hard not to like Lake’s chances to come out on top.

The Blue Streaks have remained a fixture around the top of the league standings for the better part of the past decade thanks to players who have done exactly what Maranville has done, namely make a big jump between their sophomore and junior or junior and senior seasons. Whether he can follow in the footsteps of players such as Mitch Spotelson and Chaese Vaudrin and convert that progress into success beyond the high school level remains to be seen, but for now, the rise he’s already made is plenty impressive on its own.

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