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The Suburbanite
  • No redemption for Lake Center Christian Tigers

  • One year removed from a 24-point home loss to the Dalton Bulldogs, the Lake Center Christian Tigers headed southwest in search of payback.

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  • One year removed from a 24-point home loss to the Dalton Bulldogs, the Lake Center Christian Tigers headed southwest in search of payback.
    They came up short in a 48-40 defeat, but the composition of the matchup was much different this time around.
    Last season, LCCS saw its size advantage negated by an aggressive, physical Dalton team that outrebounded it 45-18 and snared 28 offensive rebounds to control the paint.
    “Last year, they completely dominated us inside, and they were just as big this year, maybe bigger, but we knew we needed to win that battle inside this time, and it made a big difference, outrebounding them by eight (28-20),” LCCS coach Eric Schlabach said. “That allowed us to stay in the game.”
    This time around, LCCS was able to impose its will and pace on the game more, but their early season struggles with turnovers proved to be a hurdle they could not clear. A total of 25 turnovers wasted too many offensive opportunities, and the Tigers were unable to match Dalton offensively after both teams struggled to a combined nine points in the first quarter.
    “We turned it over 25 times for the game, 21 in the first three quarters and there are very few teams you’re going to beat doing that,” Schlabach said. “A lot of that was adjusting to physical play, and them being strong and athletic. When they got up and pressured us, we struggled. As a staff, we talked about the fact that we have to find ways to replicate that in practice.”
    The outcome may have been different for LCCS had 6-foot-5 senior forward Mark Slayman been available for the final few minutes of the game. For the second time on the young season, Slayman reached double digits in scoring 11 points, including seven in the third quarter to keep the Tigers within shouting distance.
    However, the burly senior rolled his right ankle early in the fourth quarter and had to watch the rest of the game from the bench. The Dalton training staff examined the ankle and initially thought the swelling was bad enough to indicate a serious injury, but examination of the ankle the next day by the LCCS training staff showed drastic improvement, and Slayman is expected back on the court soon, perhaps even for a neighborhood rivalry game against Springfield.
    Senior guard Alex Armstrong led LCCS with 13 points, his season high, including seven from the free-throw line as LCCS was 9-of-14 from the charity stripe on the evening. Dalton was 16-of-22 from the line, providing key points in a close game.