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The Suburbanite
  • Lack of intensity leads to LCCS loss to Orangemen

  • Twelve games into the season, there isn't a lot of mystery for the Lake Center Christian Tigers.

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  • Twelve games into the season, there isn't a lot of mystery for the Lake Center Christian Tigers.
    One-third of their roster remains unavailable due to injuries, and barring a medical miracle, none of the injured players will be in uniform for the rest of the year. LCCS will likely play the rest of its games undermanned, something first-year head coach Paul Zacour and his team have accepted.
    What Zacour isn't prepared to accept is his team not competing as hard as it should, which played out in the lopsided first half of a 45-20 road loss to Ellet.
    The Orangemen raced out to a 30-9 lead at the midway point thanks to lackluster defense from the Tigers (1-11), coming off their first win of the year in a 39-38 triumph over Our Lady of the Elms. Errant free-throw shooting also left a key part of LCCS' game plan incomplete.
    Going in, Zacour directed his team to be as aggressive as possible at the offensive end of the court and do their best to get to the line for easy scoring chances.
    "We talked coming into the game about how we really had to get to the foul line and attack the paint, get them in foul trouble," Zacour said. "Really, for our offensive efficiency, we needed to get to the line, so it was a positive that we were able to get to the line. We just didn't execute."
    The first half of the plan worked, but when they got to the line, the Tigers struggled mightily, making just 5-of-17 in the first two quarters to leave 12 valuable points unclaimed. Additionally, LCCS was a step slow on the defensive end of the court and simply allowed too many easy baskets to the Orangemen (6-8) to stay in the game for long.
    It was the lack of defensive energy and intensity that rankled Zacour the most after the game.
    "I thought mentally we just didn't come out prepared to play, and at halftime, I let them know," Zacour said.
    Freshman guard Brianna Miller was the offensive leader for the Tigers, scoring seven points, all but one in the first half, when she accounted for six of her team's nine tallies. Her outing was representative of the problems the entire LCCS team faced on the night, as she converted just 4-of-8 free throws.
    Overall, LCCS was 10-of-26 from the charity stripe, undercutting their efforts to slice into the Ellet lead in the second half. At one point early in the third quarter, the Tigers were able to trim the margin to 15 but could get no closer as their offense sputtered and the hosts converted 15 second-half turnovers into enough points to maintain their lead.
    Page 2 of 2 - Still, Zacour was pleased with how his team responded to his halftime challenge to pick up their defensive effort.
    "What we have done defensively (for the season), we have come a long way, and that's because of hard work. It doesn't come by accident. In the second half, our defensive intensity was much better, and we cut in half what they scored," Zacour said.
    No LCCS player reached double figures , with Miller leading the way and junior forward Emily Hofer chipping in with six points while sophomore forward Lauren Penvose added five and grabbed 12 rebounds.
    Guard Shawn Bailey led Ellet with 13 points and also had three steals. Back court mate Brianna Sojourner added 11 points to give the Orangemen two players in double figures, and forward Kendra Love chipped in with nine.
    Like LCCS, Ellet struggled shooting free throws (6 of 16), but their defensive effort was enough to overcome that ineffectiveness. For the Tigers, the game landed with a dull thud and a wake-up call that, to be competitive on a nightly basis with their depleted lineup, they can't afford slow starts or partial focus.
    Still, their second-half effort could be a building block for better performances over the second half of the season.