In Dec. 25 IssueBy Derek AaronTimes Journal Sports Editor
Coach Craig Pippen’s Lady Lakers downed the Lady Eagles of Campbellsville last Thursday in Laker Gym, 60-40, to move to 4-1 on the season.
“The first half dragged a bit in relation to the energy level I expect our team to play with,” Pippen said. “However, our players did a nice job picking it up in the second half of play.”
The Lady Lakers had three players in double digits with LeeAnn Grider scoring 12 points, Blair Hoover with 11 points and Kim Pierce with 10 points. Rachael Miller scored eight points while Sara McClure had six points. Both Lindsay Ramage and Kyla Thomas had four points each. Julie Wethington scored three points while Tyla Bailey added two points. Mille and Ramage each had six rebounds while Grider tallied six assists and five steals in the game.
Russell County only allowed Campbellsville 12 points in the second half of the game, thanks to their defensive pressure.
“We are working toward putting four quarters together from an intensity stand point,” he said. “We will continue to address this in our practice sessions.”
Pippen said he told his players that their win-loss record is not a focus right now but rather playing to their potential is.
“When I see our players give the type of effort they give in our practices, I expect the same intensity, if not more, during games,” he said “That will hopefully improve as the season progresses.”
The coach said his team’s offensive guard play continues to improve as well.
“They are doing a much better job pushing the ball up the floor and locating the shooters. We have a variety of guards that can shoot from the perimeter,” he said. “We will continue to work on our transition offense.”
Pippen said he was also pleased with bench play.
“Sara McClure came off the bench and did a nice job offensively and defensively for us. Sara plays with a lot of energy,” he said. “It’s hard to keep her off the floor because of her defensive skills. Her offensive skills are slowly catching up and that is exciting to see.”
Pippen lauded the play of Blair Hoover as well.
“She did a nice job for us as well coming off the bench and scoring 11 points and grabbing some key rebounds,” he said.
Pippen said his team’s turnovers are down from a year ago but that their free throw percentage has to get better if they are going to be where they need to be by the district tournament.
“I am proud of our players and the job they are doing in our practices,” he said. “However, if they would play the way they practice our fans would be in for a treat.”
Pippen cited intensity as key to his team’s success.
“We need five competitors on the floor at all times,” he said. “Playing the game and competing are two different things. One requires mental toughness, the other does not.”
Pippen said he was excited about the opportunity to see how his team’s toughness unfolds as the season progresses.