It has been a slow building process for the Lindsay Lane girls basketball team. When Rick Wright took over as head coach three seasons ago, the team had no juniors or seniors, and the young team took their licks game after game.
But now, those youngsters are now upperclassmen, and the hard lessons they learned as freshmen and sophomores are paying off now. The Lions improved to 7-0 in Class 1A, Area 15 play with a dominant 47-18 victory over cross-town rival Athens Bible Monday night, despite playing without senior Audra Putman, who missed her second consecutive game with a sprained ankle, and will be out for about another week.
“We’ve done a good job coming together as a team and building trust after losing Audra,” junior guard Madelyn Dizon said. “It wasn’t our best offensive game, but coach tells us the offense is going to come and go, so you have to hustle and play hard on defense because that’s what you can keep consistent.”
Dizon scored 16 points to lead the Lions offensively, while Lindsey Murr added 10, but it was the defense from Dizon and everyone else that led to the win.
The Lions constantly played strong pressure defense without committing many fouls, and forced turnover after turnovers, several of which led to easy baskets on the other end.
Lindsay Lane held Athens Bible to single-digit points in every quarter, leading 28-8 at halftime and 44-13 after three quarters before coasting through the fourth quarter with a running clock.
“You can’t control the shots falling, but you can control the defensive effort and defensive execution,” Wright said. “And for the most part we did a really good job. We’ve done a better job here lately of being aggressive without fouling. I’m not exactly sure how that improved, but I’m glad it has.”
Lindsay Lane has one more area game remaining, Jan. 24 at R.A. Hubbard, and if the Lions win, they would win the regular-season area championship and host the area tournament. It would be a huge accomplishment for a program that has been building for three years.
“That would be a big milestone for us,” Wright said. “When I inherited the program three seasons ago, we had no juniors or seniors. So that sophomore class and freshman class got a lot of minutes and now are juniors and seniors. They’ve matured over these last three seasons and to have this opportunity we’ve been working on for these years to try and host area and win area and go to sub-state is great. It’s all ahead of us. We control our own destiny, and that’s an exciting thing.”
Dizon was a part of many of those tough losses. She was a part of the volleyball team that has hosted two consecutive area tournaments, and now she said she is ready for the basketball team to host area as well.
“It would be so exciting and so cool to get to host two area tournaments,” Dizon said. “Most of our team plays volleyball too, and we worked really hard at that and got to host this year. It would be awesome to host another one.”
Lindsay Lane 93, Athens Bible 57
No matter how Lindsay Lane plays for much of the game, it’s offense is always capable of exploding for a huge number of points at any moment.
Athens Bible found that out the hard way Monday, as the Lions scored an incredible 40 points in the third quarter to turn what was a relatively close game into a blowout.
Lindsay Lane improved to 16-7 overall on the season and 7-0 in area play. The Lions would win the regular-season area championship and host the area tournament with a win over R.A. Hubbard Jan. 24.
Lindsay Lane’s offense performed well in the first half, and the Lions led 43-33 at halftime. But it was nothing like what happened in the third quarter.
Charlie Morrison scored 18 points in the quarter and Tommy Murr added 16, as the two combined to hit seven 3-pointers. When the quarter ended, Lindsay Lane led 83-49 and the game was basically over.
Murr led Lindsay Lane with 43 points, while Morrison added 26 and Amar Fuqua chipped in with 13.
Athens Bible (7-8, 2-4 area) was led by Kacen Pierce with 18 points and Walker Brand with 13.