LAKEVILLE, IN. - Following a big victory at then-2A No. 10 South Central on Saturday, LaVille head girls basketball coach Nicholas Amor was excited about what that win could do for the Lancer team.
Wednesday, in battle against rival Bremen, Amor watched as his club used an annoying full-court defense, an active half-court defense, and a big advantage at the free throw line to pick up a 36-27 victory.
Prior to Wednesday's game between the Lions and Lancers, BHS had won the last six straight dating back to a 52-37 victory on Jan. 18, 2018 in a TCU Bi-County semifinal victory. The last Cox Gymnasium regular season victory over Bremen came in a 53-44 triumph on January 5, 2013.
The two former Northern State Conference foes battled from the onset. LaVille jumped to a 4-0 lead after a basket and free throws by senior Lucy Sherk. Bremen, however, battled back to take a 7-4 advantage to close the first quarter.
The defensive showdown continued into the second quarter, as Bremen clung to a 12-11 halftime lead.
While converting on just three field goals in the first half, LaVille, Amor's squad trailed by just one point.
"The message (at halftime) was we cannot control our ability to score," said Amor. "We can get ourselves open and give ourselves opportunities, but we can't control whether or not the shot goes in. What we can control is how we play defensively! We can set the tone there and I felt we accomplished that in the second half.
In the second half, LaVille continued to be a pest with its full-court and half-court defense.
With Bremen set in its half-court zone defense, LaVille moved the ball around and successfully found a gap in the lanes.
On the first LaVille possession of the third quarter, Sherk collected an offensive putback to give LHS a 13-12 lead at the 7:29 mark.
About 30 seconds later, Brooke Edison found Sherk on an entry pass in the lane that the 5-foot-11 forward converted for a bucket. On the next possession, Lily Smith bounced a pass into Sherk for another basket and a 17-12 Lancer lead before Bremen took a timeout.
"We were able to find (Lucy) in the short corner against that zone and took care of the ball in the third quarter," Amor said as the LaVille offense began to find some momentum.
Sherk scored 10 of her game-high 16 points as LaVille took a 23-19 lead into the final period.
Bremen rallied to score back-to-back field goals to tie the game at 23-23. Kila Foster hit a basket and Katie Moyer followed her own field goal 20 seconds later to forge the tie with 5:50 left.
But LaVille's defense held steadfast down the stretch and hit crucial free throws to pull away for the first regular season win against BHS since that January night in 2013. After struggling at the free throw line in opener at Jimtown, the Lancers have picked up the pace in the last two outings. Wednesday against Bremen, LaVille hit 11-of-15 tosses in the fourth quarter and outscored BHS 16-2 from the line for the game.
"The biggest difference was our defense," said Amor as he watched his squad force 30 Bremen turnovers. "We stepped up when we needed to."
Both teams struggled behind the arc, hitting just 1-of-31 from long range.
"If you struggle shooting and you give the ball away offensively with turnovers the only way to find a win is on the defensive end!" explained Amor. ""We still have a lot to work on but I am proud of the girls and their ability to just find a way I felt like we had opportunities to score and just struggled putting the ball in the hole."
In addition to her offensive output, Sherk finished off a double-double with 11 rebounds. Heaylyn Kwiatkowski scored eight points, all in the fourth quarter. Jasmine Foster came off the bench to add six points. Lily Smith, Lauren Edison, and Brooke Edison had two points each, all from the free throw line.
Heaylyn Kwiatkowski and Lauren Edison collected five rebounds each, while Smith picked up four boards. LHS had busy hands in the passing lanes, collecting 19 steals and forcing 30 Lion turnovers. Sherk led the effort with five steals, Mikalah Kuskye four, and Lauren Edison three.
LaVille improved to 2-1 on the young season. The Lancers will play host to Trinity Greenlawn on November 12. The junior varsity game is scheduled to tip at 12 p.m., with the varsity to follow.
LAVILLE 36, BREMEN 27
Bremen 7 12 19 27
LaVille 4 11 23 36
Bremen – Kila Foster 2, Emma Lawmaster 0, Mikayla Shively 4, Chloe Miller 0, Katie Moyer 15, Emma Kincaid 0, Eliana Grubbs 6, Naomi Moyer 0. Totals: 12 2-3 27
LaVille – Lily Smith 2, Heaylyn Kwiatkowski 8,Brooke Edison 2, Mikalah Kuskye 0, Lauren Edison 2, London Kwiatkowski 0, Lucy Sherk 16, Jasmine Foster 6. Totals: 10 16-28 36
3-point field goals: Bremen 1 (K. Moyer), LaVille 0.
Total fouls: Bremen 22 (Shively), LaVille 12 (none)